I thought that with the new year rolling in I would take some time to discuss the still nameless 1st decade of the 21st century.
What to call it? It has been a widespread debate most of the last decade. I think the trouble lies with the fact that people are trying too hard to find a name for it. The naming of the decades is usually coined accidentally by somebody and it just sticks. Such as Tom Wolfe‘s dubbing the 70’s as the “Me Decade” in New York Magazine. It stuck because it was clear cut separation from the 60’s. Which is exactly what we need for the turn of the century decade. What we need is something to roll in the 21st century that not only separates us from everything of the last decade but also the last century.
If it were up to me to pick the name, it would be obvious… The Digital Culture Decade. I don’t mean “the internet”, because that gained popularity in the 90’s… it wasn’t until the 2000’s that digital socializing became a culture in itself.
I’m not sure why this hasn’t been brought up. Lets take a look at the last decade in relation to digital culture:
– Social Networks: Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, WordPress, Blogger, Xbox Live, Friendster, and more… all launched post 2000 and now make up close to 1/10th of the global population. It is no longer “Do you have Facebook?”, but rather, “I’ll Facebook you”. I can also connect all my social networks, email, chats and blogs into one medium that can be accessed either via computer or phone and it will tell me when I have an update.
– Digital Conversing: Cell Phones, Video Calling, Blogging, Video Blogging, Mobile Internet, Online Gaming, Shared Calenders, Multi-Medium Chat, and more… Everything is now connected with everything. I can go online on my cell phone and gather my email and check social networks while I’m in the middle of a multi-person video conference with Skype. Anything and everything I do or have is connected. This should be an obvious one, just walk around a college campus and most likely over half the people you see walking around will be on their data phones while listening to music and walking with 4 other people doing the same thing.
– E Commerce: Alright, this was around before this decade, but in the most infinitesimal amount. In the past several years, online shopping has brought in hundreds of billions of dollars per year in America alone. It’s no longer the fact that we can do this, but we can compare products between many websites, socialize with product users, find video reviews, video assembly instructions, and much more. Essentially, we can know the product better than we would if we were physically shopping for it as apposed to digitally shopping, and that’s huge.
– Online Dating: This deserves a category in it’s own even though it can fall under all of the above mentioned topics. In the mid-2000’s about 1/2 billion dollars were spent on online dating services and now that number is up to approximately 1 billion dollars. If I told you in the 90’s that 1/4 billion people would visit online dating services in 1 year in 2010, you would probably say, “Damn Skippy, you’re a bit bunk, looks like Y2K got to ya, Imma bounce”.
The list is endless… but I think it’s pretty obvious that of all the things that happened in the last decade, the most powerful of all of them was digitizing culture. Our economy now relies on the digital culture and so many people are connected to other people digitally it has become a part of who we are as humans. It’s no longer just human technology, it is literally modern humanity. Which is why I think the years of 2000 to 2010 should be labelled The Digital Culture Decade.
Let me know what you think about this, if you agree or disagree or if you have something to add. To me it’s obvious, we can’t seem to settle for whatever reason.