5 Most Significant Cultural Shifts of the Past 20 Years That Improved the World

When the next calendar year is upon us, it is always good to reflect on the years and decades we’ve left behind. Twenty years ago, the world we live in was much different than now, especially since the big technological advancements were still in their infancy. Cell phones and other items we now cannot imagine our lives without were barely in use, which called for much different habits and interactions among people. Even though the early 2000s don’t seem that long ago, let’s recap on the biggest cultural shifts that happened ever since and changed the world for the better:

Attachment to Smartphones

As of this year, there are 6.6 billion smartphone users in the world, which is  83.3% of the planet’s population. The exploding availability of mobile phones transformed the way we communicate, but it also introduced some new habits to people’s everyday lives, and it became common for everyone to use their portable devices to take photos, find directions, watch videos, read the news, and even do banking. However, as the use of smartphones got to be more universal than ever, the owners became overly attached to their devices, spending several hours a day on their phones. As a result, an entire economy developed from the need to create more mobile-friendly services like grocery delivery, transportation, and much more.

More Rights for LGBTQ Members

After long and dreadful decades of undefined rights for LGBTQ members of society, huge steps were made in order for everyone to have the same political rights. The change started in the US when same-sex marriage was legalized across the states in 2015 through the decision of the Supreme Court. After that, a number of other countries including France, Argentina, Northern Ireland, and Taiwan supported the idea and legalized same-sex marriage as well. Along with social and political rights, the LGBTQ movement got greater representation on television and in pop culture than ever before, creating one of the greatest cultural shifts of our time. Movies and television show titles like Blue is the Warmest Color, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and Pose all paved the way for the movement to break into mainstream media and the public’s consciousness.

Development of the Cities

Cities started developing actively back in the 2000s, and the process climaxed during the last decade. What’s more, it’s not only the capitals that transformed for the better but the smaller towns, too. Many places went from undeveloped spots with poor economies to real centres of creativity and trade. However, since city life also comes with certain disadvantages, the trend of living in the suburbs and working in the city also intensified. As a result, we now have suburbs as ideal places for life where people of different generations, cultures, and social statuses all live next to each other, embodying great examples of tolerance.

The Dominance of the Internet

Back in the early 2000s, the internet was still new and intriguing. People were attracted to it and saw it as a source of amazing possibilities, but they were still not aware of all the things they can do with it. On top of that, the possibilities available to an average user were also much more scarce than today, since most of the websites and tools that are now used daily did not even exist. Even the mighty Google was still in its early phases. People usually turned to the web for work or school tasks, and not for entertainment. Today, on the other hand, more than 5 billion people have access to the internet, and it is incorporated into almost all segments of our everyday lives.

Easy Access to Music

Once upon a time, you either had to buy original CDs or use illegal download services such as Napster in order to get access to your favourite music. Of course, the download process was far from flawless, and oftentimes people would end up spending hours waiting to download the wrong file. Nowadays, you can use free easily accessible streaming services like YouTube and Spotify and listen to whatever you want in a matter of seconds. Both services can be used for free, but you can also choose to pay a subscription fee in order to enjoy ad-free streaming and access to the full catalogue of titles available. You can also create your playlists and conveniently save the tracks you like without using any computer memory or physical space, as opposed to the times when you had to burn audio CDs packed with random songs you liked and store them in tiny plastic boxes in your home.

Each era has its own trends, and the past 20 years have definitely presented humanity with amazing changes and challenges. The world is bound to keep evolving, and it will be exciting to see what the next decades will bring.