Artwork by Hallie Anderson
It would be quite accurate to say that technology has defined the 2010s. This decade has given birth to many products and trends that many people feel they could not live without, especially relating to the internet.
Way back when, people found excitement in getting pizza delivered to their house. However, starting in 2011, it grew to much more than pizza with the introduction of Postmates. This food-delivery service has spoiled us in a way, enabling us to order any food of our choice by tapping our phones. Because the trend has become so popular, new services such as Door Dash (2013) and Uber Eats (2014).
In addition to just Uber Eats, Uber has grown immensely as well. Now we can basically order a car with our phones, and there is no need to worry about payment at the end of the ride because the passenger has already entered his or her credit card information in the Uber app. Ubers are extremely convenient when parking is not ideal at our destination or when we are in a different city and don’t know our way around.
Social media apps like Instagram dominate our culture and lives today. When Instagram first launched in 2010, users simply shared and viewed photos, but Instagram has also grown into a means by which people can follow what celebrities and national figures are doing and working on. In 2011, Instagram was followed by the introduction of Snapchat, a form of social media in which friends can send photos and videos to one another that disappear within minutes.
Social media influencers have become widely popular and successful as well, whether on YouTube, Instagram, or any other social media outlet. These influencers use their passions to gain a following by sharing that passion with others online. YouTubers have a passion for making videos, and they gain subscribers from viewers who enjoy watching them. They then get paid to advertise the products of certain brands they partner with. Before social media influencers, celebrities and movie stars were the faces who advertised products. However, the authenticity and relatability of online influencers have made them extremely popular.
Meme culture has grown significantly with the development of social media as a means by which people connect and joke with each other. Memes take an idea or phenomenon that many people are familiar with and create a humorous joke out of it. Examples of memes that many teenagers know and love are the iconic PSAT memes. High school students who have taken the PSAT and are familiar with its concepts and questions are able to connect with each other through humorous parodies of the test. The lighthearted memes can also reduce stress and add humor to a test that can seem daunting. Some of the most popular memes of this decade include Tide Pods memes, spongebob memes such as “Dabbing Squidward,” ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Memes, and “The Dress,” the colors of which people heavily debated.
What seems like ages ago, people were thrilled to buy a new CD or album when it was released by a singer or band. However, music streaming sites such as Spotify have taken over so that listeners can stream music with ads for free. Furthermore, if they subscribe to these music streaming sites and pay monthly, listeners can play any song of their choice and can create playlists with their favorite songs.
Similarly, paper newspapers have been mostly replaced as well; most people now subscribe online for news. The amount of unread paper newspapers that pile up in many households is growing and growing. Emily Rogers (11) gets her news electronically from online newspapers and sites such as USA Today, Buzzfeed, and Apple’s Newsstand.
People no longer have to wait for their favorite shows to come on TV. Nowadays Netflix and Hulu provide hundreds of shows and movies. Netflix originals such as “Stranger Things” (2016) have pretty much taken over our culture; stores are filled with “Stranger Things” merchandise, and the show is discussed and posted about frequently. This show has not been around for long at all, but it is so readily available to viewers because of Netflix. Streaming services also allow viewers to binge-watch entire seasons at once or to watch episodes as many times as they desire. Sophie Droke’s (11) favorite shows to binge-watch are “The Vampire Diaries,” “One Tree Hill,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The O.C.,” and “90210.”
Siri, which was integrated into iPhones in 2011, is another means by which people have been spoiled by technology. We are fortunate enough to be able to ask our devices simple questions without having to type a single word. Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home are recent devices found in many homes that can answer the same questions that someone would ask Siri. They can also play music and interactive games with users. Calling and texting have been replaced by FaceTime, which was invented in 2010. IPads seem like they’ve been around forever, but the first iPad was for sale in 2010.
It’s not difficult these days to take advantage of the resources and services readily available to us. However, it is important and interesting to remember that many of the products and innovations we feel we could not live without are recent developments that we are very fortunate to have access to. New products and technologies make our lives more efficient, introduce us to new ideas, and most importantly, enable us to connect with people all over the world.
For & By Students
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