“Y2k was almost a disaster!” I hear you crying already. Not to worry, there’s method to the madness: Y2k marked the beginning of the new millennium, but it also helped signal how the coming years would spiral into the tech-obsessed culture we’ve become. There’s nothing like a bit of global panic to bring everyone together to talk about technology, and for a year or so, it worked. Everyone had computers on the brain, even if it did only happen due to the possibility of going back to the 19th century against our wills.
2) The Motorola Razr
Even though it just barely squeaked into the early 2000s — the Motorola Razr officially launched in 2004 — the impact it had was astounding. No one wanted to hang on to their old, bulky cell phones any more. They wanted something new and thin with a sweet silver (or red, or black) paint job that could hold their cute phone charms and fit into almost any pocket. Somehow we’ve gone backwards and you shouldn’t be surprised to see tote bags made just to cart around our giant smartphones if trends continue.
3) Spongebob Squarepants
So the yellow guy technically debuted in 1999, but his legacy still drags itself along to this day. When Spongebob first hit the airwaves it was during something of an animation renaissance for Nickelodeon during a period of time in which cartoons were showing off just how well-written and clever they could be with just a hint of toilet humor to mix things together. Art thou feeling those nostalgia pangs now, Mr. Krabs?
4) Teen Magazines
Again, magazines weren’t new in the 2000s and they weren’t quite gone yet, but this period in time really encapsulated the last dying gasp of holding a physical news book in your hands that held all the latest and greatest trends for you to latch onto like a lamprey. Now that we’ve embraced the transition to a digital space it’s easy to put on rose-tinted glasses about monthly periodicals from Nintendo Power to Tiger Beat and Seventeen. Even LEGO had its own magazine, even if it was just a glorified bunch of ads with a comic in the middle!
5) Boy Bands
After rampaging through the 90s, *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys clashed up into the first few years of the new millennium, trying their hardest to win the hearts and minds of young girls across the world. Yet after almost seven years of nonstop merchandising, touring and pandering, they up and vanished, leaving us with a hole in our hearts that nothing can quite fill. Bye, bye, bye.
6) AOL Instant Messenger
AOL was already well beyond saving, but AIM was something different. You could express yourself through your profile, leave witty away messages for your friends and keep up with each other at a pace that can only be described as glacial when you compare it to texting each other like mad. With AIM shutting down December 15th 2017, it won’t be long until it’s just a faded memory.
7) Mall Trips
If the internet ruined anything out of early 2000s experiences, trips to the mall to wander around aimlessly with your friends has to be the top of the list. It’s like a cultural institution went away as soon as Amazon, eBay and Wonderdealz took over our shopping lives. On the other hand, it’s hard to miss gussying up just to sit in the food court and watch people stuff their faces.