As time moves forward, the state of the web continues to change and evolve right before our very eyes—revealing new current trends we never could have seen coming.
Gone are the days when email chain letters and ICQ instant messaging were the big web-defining trends that everyone knew and loved. Today, we’re in the thick of the mobile era.
It seems like we never quite have enough apps to distract ourselves. Many of us are hopelessly addicted to being plugged into the web at all times wherever we go, mesmerized by cool gadgets that can talk to our smartphones and hooked on our endless desires to consume more content.
Here are just 10 culture-defining trends on the internet right now that we’ll probably look back on in the future and think, “man… those were the simpler days!”01of 10
Thanks to Every Smartphone’s Front-Facing Camera: The Selfie Movement
The front-facing camera on our smartphones changed the way we take pictures, and social apps changed the way we share them.
It’s far too convenient to share selfies these days, which is why we’ve probably seen the trend grow into something we’ve all really learned to embrace.
It also doesn’t help that there are countless photo editing apps available that make it a breeze to enhance your selfie before you even share it.02of 10
Traditional Media Is Now Too Slow: News Breaks on Social Media First
If you want to get access to the latest news as fast as possible, Facebook and Twitter are your best options. Social news sites like Reddit are also right up there with the big social networks.
These social networks have changed the way we consume news and stay updated on what’s happening in real-time. Of course, the problem with such quick breaking news is that there’s no guarantee that everything that shows up in your Twitterstream is true and credible.
Yes, fake news can be a problem, but there really are no other platforms that quite compare for getting your news fix.03of 10
We Want Highly Visual Content: A Newfound Love for GIFs
The animated GIF is a magnificent cross between an image and a short video — without the sound of course.
Popular social networking platforms that thrive on image-based content Tumblr and Reddit have become go-to places for GIF sharing, or there’s Giphy — the internet’s image search engine for GIFs.
Google even has an image search filter for animated GIFs, so you know where to find something when you really need to find a specific GIF, fast. Just go to images.google.com, do your search, then select Tools > Type > Animated.04of 10
The Power of Categorizing Conversations: Hashtags Everywhere
Although Twitter was the original social network to bring the hashtag to life, others have been quick to pick up on the trend.
Hashtags can now be used on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and in all sorts of other corners of the web. It’s quickly grown to become the solution for effectively categorizing content based on specific themes or keywords to make search and discovery a whole lot easier.
You can be sure that this huge trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.05of 10
We All Love to Laugh (A Lot!): Memes, Memes and More Memes
The internet is obsessed with sharing memes.
Websites like BuzzFeed, Know Your Meme and I Can Haz Cheeseburger have built online business empires out of memes, and almost every week it seems like there’s a new one to be following.
The viral power of ridiculous memes like YOLO or Doge is undeniable. We can’t get enough of them, and there are tons of meme generator tools you can use to create your own and contribute to whatever meme is most popular at the moment.06of 10
New Ways to Be Seen and Heard: Regular People Turned Internet Famous
It’s obvious that social media has opened up new doors for people to showcase their talents and attract an online fanbase.
For many now famous celebrities, starting out by putting their stuff online was really the only option. Today, all kinds of mainstream actors, musicians, bands, comedians and more owe their success to the openness of the web, including major entertainment-based social networks like MySpace and YouTube.
Without them, they may have never been able to get their foot in the door in the first place.07of 10
No More Remote Storage Limitations: Cloud Streaming of Entertainment Media
Who needs CDs and DVDs anymore now that we can get unlimited access to all our entertainment needs through services like Spotify or Netflix?
There’s no need to have a hard copy or digitally downloaded copy of everything when you can stream anything you want down from the cloud for one small monthly subscription fee.
Cloud streaming sure does solve the problem of limited local storage, and it’s one of the fastest growing new trends in media consumption we’re seeing today.08of 10
A Little Too Much Information: Oversharing on Social Media
The social web moves so incredibly fast that it’s getting harder to always be right on top of what current social networking site or app is the next big thing.
If anything’s for sure, it’s that most of us have recognized how bloated the social networking experience has become with the availability of so many sites and apps out there promoting huge friend or follower numbers, constant engagement and never ending streams of content sharing.
Oversharing has become a big turn off for many internet users, which is why apps like Path and even Snapchat have popped up to bring a more intimate and minimalist experience to social networking.09of 10
A More Modern Way to Create and Exchange Value: Cryptocurrencies
Almost everyone has heard about Bitcoin by now — the decentralized digital currency that started turning a lot of heads in 2013 as more people got involved with mining, trading and spending it.
Bitcoin has had its fair share of problems given that it isn’t overseen by any central authority, but that hasn’t stopped its growing popularity.
As a result, countless other cryptocurrencies have popped up all over the web–some of which seem almost too ridiculous to be real. (Dogecoin!)10of 10
The Joy of Smart Homes: WiFi-Enabled Home Gadgets and Appliances
It’s not just your computer and your smartphone that are connected to the internet these days.
As the Internet of Things becomes more mainstream, we’re starting to see a lot more gadgets and household objects come with WiFi-enabled features.
Someday, our entire homes and cities could thrive on a connected network where every device, machine, and thing can communicate with one another to perform and automate tasks.