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Elise Moreau is a writer that has covered social media, texting, messaging, and streaming for Lifewire. Her work has appeared on Techvibes, SlashGear, Lifehack and others.
Updated on March 07, 2020
reviewed by Around the Web
The state of the web continuously changes and evolves right before our very eyes—revealing new current trends we never saw coming. Gone are the days when email chain letters and ICQ instant messaging were the big web-defining fads everyone knew and loved. Today, we’re in the thick of the mobile era. It seems like we never 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. We’re hooked on our endless desires to consume more content.
Here are 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!”
Jonathan Storey / Getty Images
The front-facing cameras 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 probably why we’ve all really learned to embrace the trend. It also doesn’t help that there are countless photo editing apps available, making it a breeze to enhance your snaps before you share them.
Social media has 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 there’s no guarantee everything that shows up in your Twitter stream 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.
tzahiV / Getty Images
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, like Tumblr and Reddit, are go-to places for GIF sharing. 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 look when you really need to find a specific GIF fast. Just go to images.google.com, do your search, then select Tools > Type > Animated.
Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images
Although Twitter was the original social network to bring the hashtag to life, others quickly picked 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 this huge trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Diamond Dogs / Getty Images
The internet is obsessed with sharing memes. Websites like BuzzFeed, Know Your Meme, and I Can Haz Cheeseburger built online business empires out of them, and almost every week it seems like there’s a new one to follow.
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’s most popular at the moment.
It’s obvious social media has opened new doors for people to showcase their talents and attract online fanbases.
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, some celebrities may not have gotten their foot in the door in the first place.
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Who needs CDs and DVDs 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 what you want 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 trends in media consumption today.
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 recognize how bloated the social networking experience has become, with 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.
Siegfried Layda / Getty Images
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 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 which seem almost too ridiculous to be real. (Dogecoin!)
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.