As the millennium dawned, nobody had an iPod or an iPhone, much less an app. Google, YouTube and blogs were all nonsense words. Texting was unknown; we communicated instantly via IMs while sitting at our computers. Twitter was something a bird might do, not a person. If you bought something on eBay, you paid with a money order -- no PayPal. Imagine life without Facebook -- some 300 million people worldwide can't.
Two types of odd-looking footwear became wildly popular -- plastic shoes called Crocs and fleece-lined suede boots called, appropriately, Uggs. Viewers drifted from scripted TV shows to reality shows, starting with "Survivor." Talent contest shows, starting with the granddaddy, "American Idol," exploded, from "Dancing with the Stars" to "Top Chef" to "Hell's Kitchen" to "So You Think You Can Dance" and many more. The DVR replaced the VCR, which had seemed miraculous in its time.
Of course, there were massive serious social changes too. On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists hit America on its shores for the first time, changing everything from air travel to border-crossing. It was the decade when identification badges worn around the neck became a common sight on ordinary office workers. The economic freefall of the late 'aughts' left millions without jobs. As the New Year approached, it began to look as through the economy might be starting to pull out of its slump.
What are your nominations for the biggest life-changers in the years from 2000 to 2009? And what do you think the next decade -- the 10s -- will hold for the world?
-- Anne Neville
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