As we’re nearly a quarter of the way through the 21st Century, could we say when our current era really started? I’d argue that it didn’t start with a single political event like 9/11, but with two events that have shaped how we see the world – our culture and politics – in ways that will take at least another quarter century to resolve.
These events happened in the same city, barely a few months apart in 2007, and together they have had a profound influence on society, much more than was possible to understand at the time.
On Jan 9th 2007, Apple launched the first iPhone, and a few months later, on May 24th, Facebook launched the Facebook Platform, a tool that would let developers embed the Facebook network across the web. These two products – a mobile phone with sensors and cameras that capture a wealth of data about our lives, and a social network that can gather our actions and opinions from across the web – have, over the last 15 years, fundamentally reshaped much of our world in a way that makes those moments feel, more than anything else, like the start of a new century.