Twenty years have passed since the turn of the millennium and times have no doubt changed. Cell phones are all the rage and in almost every hand, social media has taken the world by storm, and everything has gotten sleeker and faster.
Insider.com shows us just how much has changed in the past two decades.
Like some of us, Google was born in 1998, and it’s now a household verb. Although the Internet was created in the 1960s, the widespread, highspeed version of it wasn’t available until the late 2000s. Social media platforms like MySpace and Facebook, created in 2003 and 2004, respectively, have been challenged by Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, created in 2006, 2010 and 2011.
Year two thousand (Y2K), while an incredibly real concern at the time, is now a distant memory. And we no longer have to worry about breathing in smoke at restaurants, as in the early 2000s states across the country began banning smoking in restaurants and other public places. The commercials we used to see about smoking cigarettes and the D.A.R.E programs we all went through as children have been adapted to include vaping and the dangers it poses to teens and young adults.
Speaking of danger: terrorism. Although it existed before 9/11, terrorism became an active threat after. It changed public perspective and heightened security measures in our airports that continue today.
Another very real threat that wasn’t as much of a concern then as it is now is school shootings and public safety concerns. The Columbine shooting in 1999 was an absolute shock to the nation, and within 20 years we’ve seen many more shootings, such as Parkland, Sandyhook, the Aurora movie theater and the Orlando nightclub.
On a lighter note, Professor Rebecca Koerselman remembers the fashion trends of the 2000s: frosted tips, bootcut jeans, bright white shoes and ankle socks. Some of these trends are making a comeback in 2020, and many more vintage staples will be returning to our wardrobes as the years go on.
Koerselman also remembers the boyband craze of the 2000s; bands like New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. Although, some could argue Bieber fever and obsessive Jonas disorder gives the boybands of the past a run for their money when it comes to crazed fans. Other artists like Britney Spears, Natasha Bedingfield and Kelly Clarkson have paved the way for strong female artists today like Lizzo, Beyonc é and Adele.
Professor Scott Monsma noted many changes between 2000 and 2020.
“Demographics have changed. In 2000 lots of students were coming to colleges – it was a growth industry,” Monsma said. “Today, people are having fewer children (for many reasons), and colleges around the U.S. are closing or downsizing. The demographic changes have hit the Midwest particularly hard – and many small towns are shrinking and losing many economic opportunities.”
He also notes the change that cell phones brought, especially to campus life.
“Imagine a campus where folks walking around had to talk to each other instead of the pattern of walking out of class and wandering down the hall staring at a small screen whilst ignoring others,” he said.
Yes, times have changed, that much we know for sure.
The questions we all need to ask ourselves: Has it changed for the better? And what will the next 20 years bring?
It’s important for us as college students to look at what the world used to be, in order to begin changing the world as we see it today.