Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis, 1979

Long before the World Wide Web was launched, Usenet was already connecting computers around the world. Two students, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, came up with the idea of a network discussion system in 1979. It allowed users to read and post messages to one or more newsgroups. Usenet looked like a hybrid form of e-mail and Web forums. Nowadays, Usenet is considered to be the precursor of today’s Web forums. And if you want to find out what people were discussing in those days, just ask Google; they host an archive of Usenet posts dating back to May 1981.