The 2000s marked not only the start of the 21st Century but also the onset of the 3rd Millennium. Yes, in many ways this decade was about new beginnings and the race to make a new way and stand out from the decades, and the century and millennium, of the past. The 2000s perhaps are still too young to be named. But we’ve read everything from:
The “Haughty Noughties”
The “Decade of Hope and Change”, and
However you view that era philosophically, we can all agree that it was a time of both progress and stagnation – advances and setbacks.
Technology and Science
In the 2000s the Internet grew to reach 70% of the population, and Google became its most visited website. Wireless Internet became prominent and could be accessed on mobile phones and video game consoles. Email became a standard form of interpersonal written communication. There was a boom in music downloading and the use of portable digital audio players: MP3s and iPods. The USB flash drive replaced the floppy disk. Blogs became a common method for disseminating information, and the online (user-generated-content) encyclopedia Wikipedia was launched and grew to be the largest and most popular general reference body of work on the Internet. GPS navigation devices became widely popular. After years of work, the human genome was sequenced to 99.99% accuracy. The world’s first self-contained artificial heart was implanted. DVR devices such as TiVo became popular, making it possible to record television broadcasts. DVDs replaced VCRs as the common standard in homes and at video rental locations.
Popular music for teens in the 2000s was dominated by “dirty south’/crunk rap and emo music. Late 1980s boy band New Kids on the Block did make a successful comeback in 2008. But the best-selling artist of the decade was rapper Eminem, who sold 32 million albums. The best-selling female artist of the decade was Britney Spears. Nickelback, Pink, Akon, and Rihanna were popular new artists of the decade as well.
Fashion & Style
Fashion in the 2000s differed in many ways from fashion in the 1990s. The slacker fashion of the 1990s, with its understated look, was looked down upon by the early 2000s and replaced with more showy clothes. The body modification trend of the 1990s became far more popular still in the 2000s, with even cheerleaders and preppies adopting tattoos and non-traditional body piercings. Slim-fitting jeans remained popular through the decade, especially on women. Crocs and Ugg boots were popular, and sneakers were still prominent – from Nike to Sketchers, Converse and Vans brands. Hair styles included a wing style for boys and semi-long straight hair for girls. Shirts that exposed the belly button and low rise baggy cargo pants were mainstream.
Body modification—augmentation, reduction, smoothing, straightening, whitening, tanning,
not to mention tattooing—became normative.
Choppy hair, heavily layered, either dyed pitch black, blonde, or in vibrant colors became popular with teenagers, while those in their twenties and above chose typically to keep a more natural look. The closing years of the decade gave us the word “manscaping” – enough said!
Film & Television
Websites like YouTube and Hulu became alternatives to TV broadcasts. By the late 2000s, many networks streamed their shows on the Internet. Documentary and ‘mockumentary’ films, such as March of the Penguins and Super Size Me, were popular. The highest-grossing film of the decade was Avatar. Oscar winners of the era included Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Million Dollar Baby, and The Hurt Locker. We enjoyed film series like Harry Potter, Transformers, Xmen, and Lord of the Rings. Reality TV, with shows such as Dancing with the Stars, Survivor and Big Brother overtook popularity that once belonged to sitcoms and crime/medical shows. The 2000s even saw premium cable channels, devoted historically to movies and sporting events, delve into the business of serial dramas; The Sopranos and Deadwood being two prime examples.
The economic growth of the 2000s, lifted millions out of poverty, but also raised demand for diminishing energy resources. The US recognized civil unions and partnerships for the first time. We had brushes with mad cow disease, bird flu, and swine flu. World population reached 6.8 billion – 300 million in the US. Global warming became a household word. The popularity of mobile phones and text messaging surged, as traffic collisions increased due to distracted drivers. More listeners started using MP3 players in their cars, satellite radio was on the rise, and many radio stations began streaming their content over the Internet. The PS2 was released in 2000 and became the best-selling gaming console of all time. The decade saw the rise of digital media and the steady decline of printed books in areas where e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle had become available. Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” book series (consisting of The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and The Lost Symbol) was a popular read. Social Media gained popularity and strength, and by the end of 2009, there were 350 million active users on Facebook; rather than replacing embodied connection as was once feared, our devices and technology only supplemented and extended it.
A larger percentage of older generations got “online” and LIKED it!
There may never have been a society in history that was as culturally, religiously, and politically diverse as the US became in the 2000s. Men untucked their shirts; billionaires wore jeans; and the most powerful CEO in America was universally known as “Steve”. Indeed, informality was rampant… and accepted!
From the way a community was designed and marketed, to the leasing process, resident service and retention, it all changed. Savvy was the best word to describe the renter of the 2000s. What were they looking for in their apartment in comparison with the renter of the 90s? They wanted the same and MORE! They still wanted the traditional amenities that made apartment life convenient for decades past. However, they also wanted to bring their large dogs and live in an apartment that was eco-friendly and compatible with all their modern technology. They needed more wall space for that large flat screen television and a solution for hiding those wires and cables.
Highlights from the 2000s
- Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana, devastating New Orleans and the Mississippi coast
- The September 11 Attack resulted in the “War on Terror”
- A 9.3 Richter scale earthquake resulted in the Indian Ocean Tsunami killed 290,000
- Anthrax virus was distributed via US Mail against prominent or government targets
- Space Shuttle Columbia exploded upon reentry over Texas
- Pluto was demoted to a “dwarf planet” after being considered a planet for 76 years
- Saddam Hussein, former leader of Iraq, is captured
- The identity of Deep Throat, Watergate scandal informant, was revealed after 30 years
- Michael Jackson’s death transcended geography, culture and age in emotional impact
The 2000s was a time of ups and downs; as we exited that era, gloom and disappointment still largely dominated economic headlines with words such as “high unemployment” and “home foreclosures”.
But time as always continues to march forward!
As we come full circle in our examination of the last 30 years let us take a moment to reminisce about what life was like way back then!
- Before the Internet…we conducted research at libraries
- Before instant messaging…we spoke to friends on a phone with a cord
- Before blogging…we handwrote letters, passed notes, and kept diaries
- Before search engines…we paused the tape repeatedly to write down lyrics to a song
- Before Facebook…kids hung out at arcades, malls, and roller rinks