Politics, War and the Economy
The decade started solemnly with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11,2001 as well as a passenger-foiled attempt that resulted in a crash in Pennsylvania.U.S. military action followed in Afghanistan and later, the toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
An historical Presidential primary and election took place in the U.S. States pitting a woman (Hillary Clinton) against the first black man to win the Presidency (Barack Obama).
The U.S. and much of the global economy tanked at the end of the decade, with the worst economic downturn in the U.S. since the Great Depression. The terms "bailout", "economic stimulus" and "mortgage meltdown" became everyday household words.
The decade of the 2000s began on New Year's Day, 2000, with the anticipation of widespread computer system issues that were believed to be imminent with the dawn of what was termed "Y2K". In reality, many preventive measures had already been taken, which had resulted in a very hot high tech jobs market at the end of the last millennium. Most of that jobs momentum was lost almost immediately after the turn of the century. In the end, Y2K was seen as mostly overblown hype and fear mongering.
Technology continued to have a consistent and significant impact on the first decade of the 2000s with a growing number of cool, "must-have" gadgets, including the iPod, the iPhone, Nintendo's Wii, portable DVD players and GPS systems. The availability of broadband and Wi-Fi Internet connections grew rapidly, as did high definition (HD) TV. LCD TV technology expanded to allow bigger screens, and the availability of plasma TVs grew while prices fell. The huge rear-projection TVs and the heavy, monolithic picture tube TVs of the past quickly faded. Surround sound audio gave way to home theater audio systems. Laptops shrunk to Notepads and Net Books, and cell phones became both increasingly smaller and increasingly functional with Web browsing, texting and digital camera/movie capabilities.
Web 2.0 and Social Media
The Internet continued to mature as more and more jumped on the "Web 2.0" bandwagon. Web 2.0 was seen as an increasingly interactive environment where Web users joined in on the conversation. Social networks, such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn became attractive places to share pictures, current events and network for friends and jobs. YouTube became the enabler for sharing videos that could be posted by anyone with access to a video camera or to create digital, online slide shows. Blogs hit the mainstream and allowed anyone and everyone to voice their opinion and sound off on any topic. Later in the decade, Twitter hit the Web 2.0 groundswell to gain fashion. The term "Tweet" took on a whole new meaning.
Search Engines and Google
As millions more people of all ages hit the Internet, the volume of search engine queries exploded, such that some estimates are that more than 14 million daily searches were conducted on the Web worldwide at the end of 2009. Smaller search engines succumbed to the giant that is Google, which is estimated to have a hold over 72% of all Internet searches conducted in the U.S. MSN search become Live Search and then Bing. The field of search engine marketing grew by leaps and bounds, including Pay-Per-Click advertising and search engine optimization, as increasing numbers of businesses want to capture a piece of that search engine activity.
The Greening of the Environment
The first decade saw increased production of hybrid cars, whose popularity grew by leaps and bounds resulting from roller-coaster prices for gasoline, a growing concern for the environment and the desire to reduce one's "carbon footprint". Heated debates continue over "global warming". A growing demand for further development of eco-friendly energy sources, such as wind and solar power, was evident.
The Growth of Telecommuting
Empowered by technological development and encouraged by potential pandemics like Bird Flu and Swine Flu (H1N1) as well as the increasing desire to reduce the size of one's "carbon footprint", working from home or "telecommuting" was provided as an option to millions more workers this past decade than those before it. Championed by large private businesses, such as IBM and United Health Group, and later by government, including former Governor Kaine of Virginia, telecommuting work options continued to grow.
What Do You Think?
I've just scratched the surface, I know. I haven't even mentioned natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and the Southeast Asia tsunami that killed over 230,000 people. I want to hear what you feel were the significant developments, events and trends of this first decade in the new millennium. After all, Web 2.0 is about sharing, right?
I live in the U.S. and have spent the entire decade here in the States. I can only give you my perspective. Those of you from other parts of the world probably have an entirely different perspective than I do.
Whether you agree with me or not, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please use one or both of the following links to share you thoughts, hopes and ideas, both about the past and for what the future may hold in the decade ahead.