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My fourth installment in the 2000-2010 Decade List series covers a handful of things that changed our perspective. Whether it was an event in time, or a tangible object, each of these list items has had a (profound?) impact on American lives. In no particular order:

5. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Even though the first book was released in 1997, this decade is still reveling in Harry Potter fandom. The author managed to get scores of people (kids and adults) reading again, and proved to the world what a little hard work and dedication can accomplish. (1997-2007 books; 2001-2010 movies).

4. Sub-prime Lending. Together with a perfect storm of other loose banking fiascoes and predatory lending practices across the better part of the decade, sub-prime loans helped bring down the US economy. This was coupled with a great sense of irresponsibility as people took on (and were unfortunately allowed to do so) more debt than they could manage. With any luck, today Americans have (hopefully) embraced a conservative personal fiscal practice and will live with more modestly and within their means. (coming to a head in 2008).

3. 9/11. Religious intolerance took on a whole new face after this fateful Tuesday. So did unity and strength. Rising from the rubble are some of the most inspiring stories of people helping friends/neighbors/strangers in an uncertain and chaotic time. As so many people have echoed since, “We’re all New Yorkers now.” (2001).

2. iPod. Microsoft’s evolutionary music (and now video) device upped the ante in technological advancements. Gone are the Walk-Man and Disc-Man. Welcome now the sleek, small, and smart mobile music devices that come in an assortment of colors and sizes. (2001).

1. Connectivity. The advent of social media (Facebook – 2004 ; Myspace – 2003; Friendster – 2002), blogging (2002), and Twitter (2006) has yielded a state in which people can be connected (quite literally) all the time. It has also given rise to a curious phenomenon wherein real-world physical relationships deteriorate as web-based lives grow, and a somewhat narcissistic publication of persona. In a world in which information is instantly available, so too are more details about your friends than you care to ever know!

~M

Retro re-post of the day: October’s Month.

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