The fads of the 2000s can be described as technologically-driven and convenience-based. Everyone seems to be looking for the fastest, easiest ways to communicate, advertise, entertain themselves, eat, and even fall in love. Soon these fads will be a thing of the past, but don't move too fast -- this decade still has a few years left!
Up first: Text Messaging
1. Reality TV
The craze that continues to keep us glued to the TV started in the 1990s with a little MTV show called The Real World, where seven strangers were picked to live together in a cool apartment in Manhattan. The show was a huge hit -- people everywhere tuned in to see real people interacting in real life. But it wasn't until 2000 that reality television really exploded, spawning shows like Survivor, Amazing Race, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. By the mid-2000s, the industry was saturated with reality TV shows for every imaginable subject.
2. Text Messaging
These usually abbreviated, often truncated, and sometimes cryptic messages are sent via cell phones. The United States was actually behind the times when this trend initially hit in the late '90s. Asia and Europe had been using the Short Message System (or SMS) for several years, but we only got hip to "txt msgs" in the mid-2000s. We're making up for lost time apparently; in 2006, cellular provider Cingular reported 12 billion text messages sent in the fourth quarter alone, an increase of 20 percent from the previous quarter.
In Japanese, su do ku means "one number." A sudoku puzzle is a grid to fill with numbers so that the numerals one through nine occur only once in each row, column and box. Each puzzle has some numbers filled in -- you just need to work out the rest using your powers of deduction. It may not sound like it, but it's really fun. In 2005, British newspaper The Times published a sudoku puzzle by Wayne Gould and the game's popularity boomed. Soon, U.S. newspapers were printing the puzzles and everyone had their heads down, crunching the numbers.
4. YouTube and MySpace
Sharing videos, songs, e-mail messages, pictures, favorites lists, and profiles is becoming de rigueur in the 21st century. With online sites like YouTube, you can search for, watch and share video clips of just about everything -- no TV required. If you find a really great video clip on YouTube, you can post a link to it on your MySpace page. MySpace is one of the most popular Web sites in existence, operating as a networking tool for anyone who can type their name and think of a password. Members have profiles, links to other people's profiles, primary and extended networks, and can use their MySpace pages for fun, personal use, or to promote themselves in business and artistic endeavors.
5. Speed Dating
With so many MySpace profiles to update, text messages to type, and sudoku puzzles to solve, who has time to meet that special someone? Thanks to speed-dating services, busy people of the new millennium can meet dozens of singles -- while a timer keeps the whole thing moving along at a steady pace. A couple will chat for three to eight minutes or so, figuring out if there's any point in continuing their discussion later. A bell rings or a glass clinks and it's bye-bye to person number one and on to person number two. Fans of speed dating say it's a great way to meet a lot of people and, since first impressions are telling, you won't waste your time on someone who doesn't tickle your fancy right away. Critics say it's not fair to judge someone on a three-minute conversation, but with the pace we've set in the 2000s, three minutes may be all anyone has!
Helen Davies, Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen