Coma in 2006, you wake up now. What would you notice that's sooo different.

Again, favorite auntie posting conservative bile on Facebook. I’m not going to respond (I swear I’m not). I just don’t get it.

If you fell asleep in 2006 and woke up now, just by wandering around the American landscape, what would you immediately notice as different? Good or Bad?

Little background. I live in a bottom ten city to live in. One of the worst cities in America to live. I don’t watch Fox News ever. I get a few hours a week on MSNBC. I watch Jon Stewart every day. I don’t get local newspaper, barely watch local newscast. Watch Brian Williams every night.

This Facebook post is just complaining how much America has changed. I’m sorry, I just don’t see many changes in my day-to-day life. Economically, changes haven’t really affected me. Had a job then, have a job now. I was out of work for a good 9 months, but that turned around, as I figured it would. Socially, I’m old married white guy. SSM and other social policies haven’t affected my life.

I just want to know that when uber-Conservatives bitch about how much this country has changed, what the heck they are talking about. I look out my window and America looks pretty much the same.

It’s only less than ten years, socio-economically we aren’t going to change much in so short a time, but there have been a lot of small things that add up to big changes, or beginnings, that will at the least indirectly affect you.
[li]Gay marriage.[/li][li]Black US President.[/li][li]Smartphones and Tablets.[/li][li]YouTube was only just beginning in 2006.[/li][li]Social Media, Twitter, Facebook[/li][li]Streaming TV.[/li][li]Electric cars.[/li][/ul]

Black president. That is the big difference I’m sure is being noticed.

Aside from that, smartphones are everywhere (as opposed to just regular cell phones that existed in 2006).

Also we are in the middle of a severe economic crisis that isn’t getting better. The economy was a lot better in 2006.

Russia is becoming an imperial adversary again.

Individuals have a lot more role in the internet via social media, video uploading sites, etc.

The Iraq War is over. The Afghanistan War is not.

Where I live, you’d be shocked to see that real estate prices are about the same, maybe just a little higher (instead of the crazy increases we saw year-to-year in the 2000 - 2006 timeframe).

But again, Russia, black president. Those things are not noticeable upon waking up after a long long sleep. I’m hearing about freedoms/rights being stripped away. If they were, I would certainly think it would be noticeable to anyone. Not just noticeable to people who watch a certain style of media.

I guess I’m shallow, but the huge progress from flip phones to smartphones was the first thing that came to my mind.

We have a black president? And you say he killed Osama Bin Laden? Nice.

What the hell happened to Miley Cyrus!? She used to be such a good girl.
Recreational marijuana is legal in two states?? Sign my ass up.
Smartphones are smarter than ever.
Gas is way more expensive.
Tuition has gone up and so have student loan interest rates. But IBR exists, thankfully.
Streaming Netflix? That’s way better than mailing DVDs.
WTF Russia. WTF?

Heh, my first thought was that my students’ phones no longer ring during class – they are all completely silent and used only for texting. More insidious, but less distracting.

Other than that, I’m not sure I could put my finger on any massive social or cultural changes. Political and economic, sure, but nothing that I’d really notice going about my day-to-day life.

Were the police all driving aggressive looking black SUVs in 2006? I forget when that became common.

The Red Sox won two MORE World Series???

And then I’d kill myself for missing the way they won last year (all the walk-offs, dramatic moments, at Fenway)

Guess I’m self centered
My first thought is that my son had gone from boy (11) to man (19).

Tablets are a thing now.
Hipsters and their fashion sensibilities are a thing now.
The recession and all the fallout from it (too big to fail, occupy wall street, bailout)
The electric car is gaining market share.
Over-the-ear headphones are more popular than earbuds.
Online shopping is in full swing.
Cloud data storage means your dog eating your hw, or even you leaving your flash drive at home isn’t a valid excuse anymore.
You can use credit cards in cabs.

Giants had two no hitters plus a perfect game and two world series wins. I would find the Cubbies lack of success very familiar and comforting.

You think that having a black president is only noticeable to people who watch a certain style of media? Okay, I’m not really sure what you’re looking for here. It sounds like you want examples of things that you could notice from like, your bedroom.

Who the hell is Sarah Palin?
An Arab president?
What happened to MySpace?
What’s an upside down mortgage?
Gay marriages?
What’s all this fuss about having a tea party?

The biggest difference in day to day life since 2006, by far, is the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, and how much people use them. Something like a black President or there being more gay marriage is interesting but not a matter of day to day, in-your-face concern unless you’re Barack Obama or a person in a gay marriage.

Smartphones and tablets, however, are practically another child to a great many people and a lot of aspects of our daily lives are built on the assumption you have one. That simply did not exist in 2006. The iPhone wasn’t invented until 2007. BlackBerrys (or BlackBerry Devices, as the company insists on calling them) were around but were uncommon and not anything like what we have today. iPads and the like weren’t even close.

The social phenomenon of people’s eyes being perpetually glued to their phones, of using phones when out to meals with family and friends, of almost everyone on the commuter train looking at a mobile device the whole trip, of Twitter and Facebook and such being things that a late night host would just assume every viewer knew about, of hashtag-thing-instantly, none of that happened in 2006. A black President is cool for about ten minutes. Smartphones have changed the way people behave.

If you jump from 2006 to now the amount of Sarah-Palin-noticing you’ll be doing is about the same. You’ll have skipped over her entire period of notoriety.

I think that the first thing you’d notice is that 100% of all TVs are flat-screen. It seems like in 2006 that was still a “high-end” thing. Hell, you could easily convert a 1990s sitcom house set to a 2010s sitcom house set just by removing the home phone and replacing the TV with a flat screen.

By 2006 same-sex marriage was already recognized in Massachusetts, and same-sex civil unions in Vermont. I don’t think it would be a big surprise to a newly awakened coma patient to find that several other states and the federal government now recognize same-sex marriage as well. They might be happy or sad about this depending on their personal beliefs, but it’s something that could easily have been foreseen in 2006.

Assuming the revived comatose person is given a few weeks of news, there’s much that will stand out. First, the entire printed news industry is a fraction of what it was in 2006 and online news has grown considerably. They would be expecting to read newspapers, not visit sites online.

Also, US politics has moved considerably to the religious right. Contraception was a non-issue in 2006; now it’s all over the news. Abortion was under attack in 2006, but the success of these attacks would come as a surprise. The amount of religious fundamentalism in US culture would be shocking to someone waking up with 2006 memories.

Wow, the internet is really fast now!