A social decade: From Airbnb to Twitter, the most significant social moments in the last 10 years

The past decade has been the first age of social media. As Creative Social celebrates 10 years, here its founders Daniele Fiandaca and Mark Chalmers reflect on the 10 most socially significant cultural moments that have brought us to where we are – and which are likely to define the coming decade.

Banksy's 'Better out than in'

2005 – Secret Cinema reignites the film experience

Although technology has enabled us to connect like never before, we still need physical experiences. While the movie industry was worrying about protecting cinema, Secret Cinema reignited romance in film propagated through social media and made simultaneous launches online and in cinema the norm.

2006 – Twitter delivers pull and broadcast

The power of sharing a message to many in real-time, as well as finding people to follow, now seems obvious. And Twitter’s impact on culture and beyond is undeniable, from changing the nature of real time reporting, to facilitating governmental change during the Arab Spring, and creating a new category of real-time marketing thanks to an Oreo tweet during the Super Bowl.

2007 – The iPhone launch

Just over seven years ago most of us had never heard of a smartphone, yet now we take the super computer in our pocket for granted. The iPhone and its App store, for which anyone can develop, heralded a revolution. They have changed our expectations of what services a mobile device can provide. The possibilities seem endless.

2008 – Spotify challenges ownership

Even a business like Apple struggled when it has to build on a legacy system. iTunes was launched when social did not exist and its response to Spotify, Ping, launched in 2010 and closed within two years. Spotify’s real battle was with the ‘crate diggers’; its new form of non-ownership has made the company the cornerstone of today’s subscription economy.

2009 – Uber disrupts

People do not like change and local governments have responded by trying to ban Uber rather than understanding its value. In London the ensuing taxi wars have diverted attention from the real issue of customer service. As long as you deliver the service that people have been accustomed to, you will still thrive.

2010 - iPod Nano watch project makes Kickstarter history

While Kickstarter launched in April 2009, it was the TikTok iPod Nano watch that really brought it to prominence, raising more than $950k in just over a month. Kickstarter has opened a whole new route to market for entrepreneurs with almost 75,000 successful projects, and more than $1.4 billion pledged. We are aiming to launch our very own Kickstarter next year – watch this space.

2011 – Airbnb announces its one millionth booking

Why stay in a faceless hotel when you can stay in someone’s home for less? However, Airbnb represents more than just a new way of travelling. It is one of the leading examples within the $3.5bn collaborative economy and another example of how digital is leading to new business models and creating a better world.

2012 – Makerbot replicator launches

The Makerbot launch represented the start of consumer 3D printing. And while it is unlikely to reach its true potential for at least five years, we have already had a glimpse of its potential. From the printing of prosthetic limbs in war-torn Sudan through Project Daniel, and bringing search to life for blind children, to 3D printed make-up, a whole set of opportunities will be available to the next generation.

2013 – Sedition launches the first trading platform for digital art

Art has been slow to react to the digital revolution. At a mass level digital culture has been confined to animated gifs and memes. Sedition, the first trading platform for digital art, launched in 2013, providing water marks, certificates of authenticity and vaults. It’s securely yours, which seems a paradox in the digital economy.

2014 – Banksy delivers the perfect campaign

Banksy’s one-month ‘Better out than in’ exhibition in New York demonstrated the power of social to bring an event alive. With posters, viral films site specific installations, a campaign website and social media account, he captivated and activated thousands. It helped cement his reputation for 2014 and decades to come.

So where is this all taking us? Digital’s key role will continue to be to connect people. As James Wallman, the author of Stuffocation, predicts, we are moving from a world of materialism to one of experientialism.

We could see greater tension between digital and physical which could mean people recognising the need to switch-off technology as during Kate Bush’s London residency. On the flipside, more artists and auteurs will use digital to deliver better physical experiences.

In the meantime we look forward to another decade and beyond of digital delivering new products, new experiences and building new economies.

Daniele Fiandaca and Mark Chalmers are the founders of Creative Social

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