The Internet has set off a digital revolution that has drastically changed the way we go about our lives. Every aspect of humanity has been altered by the rise of the Internet, but what is surprising is how quickly these technology trends have become normal.

Digital tech has expanded our receptive field so much that we are engaging with the world around us in an entirely different way in comparison to just a decade or two ago. Some of our daily habits and practices that are now entirely socially acceptable would have been seen as downright insane twenty years ago.

#Talkingtoyourself used to be crazy, but #technology has made it normal.Click To Tweet

Here are some totally normal things that would have made people in the 90s look crazy:

1. Talking to Yourself

Before the rise of smartphones or the Internet, talking to yourself in public was seen as the definition of insanity. Being caught in the act of talking to yourself would have been the height of embarrassment and would have led to every passerby assuming you had just escaped from a nearby facility.

Often associated with hallucinations and mental illness, people who are actually talking to themselves are now harder to point out because if you look closer, chances are they’re just talking with another person via earbuds.

“Self-talkers” have become the norm in most public areas as we as a society cannot live without our smartphones; it has become the first and last thing we check at both ends of the day.

On that note, talking to yourself aloud or in your head isn’t always a sign of madness. It could have some benefits and may even hint at a higher IQ. Just don’t do it in public, though, or make sure to wear earbuds!

2. Online Dating

As “single-and-ready-to-mingle” places go, the Internet has become the Shangri-La of the world’s lonely souls and relationship seekers.

In the early days of the Internet, it was advised to never meet online friends in person. Most people assumed that every stranger was either a serial killer or a kidnapper and that nobody should be trusted.

Then social media and dating apps such as Tinder and Facebook came along and made this practice much more socially acceptable.

Over one-third of Americans who got married between 2005 and 2012 met on dating websites. Research also shows that these couples are more likely to stay together than couples who met in more conventional circumstances.

Still, the internet can sometimes be a dark and dangerous place. Make sure to take some safety precautions when meeting up with online potential partners for the first time. Always inform people of where you are going and always try to meet somewhere public for the first meeting, if possible.

It also helps to bring flowers, even the most cold-hearted kidnapper could be persuaded to give up the gun with a fancy enough bouquet.

3. Collaborative Consumption: Hitchhiking and Waking up in a Stranger’s Bed

If the economy of the past valued possession and the materialistic dimension of assets, today’s economic solutions are much more focused on human experience and emotions.

Also known as a “sharing economy”, collaborative consumption is a global trend that has disrupted our consumption behaviors. Uber and Airbnb are two of the most well-known examples which best illustrate this trend.

Although there has always been an element of risk in hitchhiking, new developments and social trends have seen an adapted form of hitchhiking revolutionize the way people travel. Enabling drivers to turn their car into a source of revenue with Uber and other ridesharing apps has made hopping into a stranger’s vehicle fairly commonplace.

Similarly, Airbnb has upended how people spend their vacation and made sleeping in a stranger’s bed a whole new business. Rather than buying your dream vacation house in an exotic place, you can now rent a bedroom directly from the host often at cheaper rates than a hotel and at no extra charge. This method has entirely changed the way many people go on vacation, but it is not without its own problems.

4. Letting the Delivery Man Enter Your Home Unattended

Package theft is a real issue, especially during the holiday shopping rush. Around 10% of American adults have experienced the theft of a delivered package. When you look at some of the concealment methods of these delivery drivers, it’s a marvel that the rate isn’t higher.

Furthermore, a package sitting on an individual’s doorstep is often a clue to others that the house is empty. This has become a significant issue in both home security and online delivery systems.

Now, if you’re not comfortable letting the delivery guy enter while you’re not home, you’re going to have to change your attitude if you want to end the risk of your package being stolen.

To fix this issue of stolen packages, Amazon is proposing the idea of letting Amazon drivers go inside homes instead of the usual drop-off.

The new service, Amazon Key, is exclusive to eligible Prime members who have to invest a $249.99 minimum for a kit containing a connected camera (Amazon Cloud Cam) and a smart lock.

There has been a large amount of surprise, confusion, and protest around this new scheme of Amazon’s, but it may be a slightly unorthodox solution to an increasingly large problem affecting many American households.

In due time, it may go the way of online dating, Airbnb’s, and lift-sharing to gradually become the social norm that all of these recent innovations have become.

Our increasingly global society is developing at a rapid rate; things that were absurd twenty years ago have become the norm. Even think of yourself in the 90’s leaving a stranger’s house after sleeping in their bed, having a quick chat to yourself in the street, hopping into a random car and finally getting a lift to meet someone you had only ever spoken to through email. Our world has significantly changed in that time, and largely for the better.

What do you think will be the biggest social changes over the next ten years? Do you think this will become an issue in our future society? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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