I grew up in a world where a whole generation of people could be summarized easily, defined by population bumps like the Baby Boomers, a shared experience in battle, as Tom Brokaw frequently cites in The Greatest Generation, or quite simply, by the assigned letter given to those born in a ten to fifteen year period, like Generations X and Y. Now, newsmakers and analysts alike are trying to explain just what this new era should be called. Is there one device or one company or one shared experience that defines us?
With some quick research, it's clear there are many players vying for the elite status of owning our tech-savvy era. I tapped into Google (disclosure: I work there) for a few examples. Let them play out and see if you favor one over another or have a better option. All screenshots current as of Friday, August 16th, 2013.
The iPod Era: 69,100 Google results
In context: "Considering the Book's Future in the iPod Era", "How Generation Y Is Redefining Faith in the iPod Era" and "Trade Protection in the iPod Era"Represents: The iPod at peak was more than half of Apple's revenue, outpacing Mac and all software sales. The iPod was a cultural phenomenon representing fashionable portability of digital media and personalization of music listening.
Is it over? Yes. According to AppleInsider, the iPod Era ended in 2010.
The iPad Era: 132,000 Google results
In context: "The Role of Computers in the iPad Era", "Building Magazine Architectures for the iPad Era" and "5 Options of eLearning in the iPad Era"
Represents: The first successful tablet computer disrupted the old way of doing many things, and picked up where Apple's iPod and iPhone had left off.Is it over? Probably not. The iPad Era launched in 2010. Debate from AdAge questions if it's done.
The Google Era: 259,000 Google results
In context: "Newspaper Ad Revenues in the Google Era", "The Google Era of Computing", "Communicating With Residents In the Google Era"
Hey look! A book: Getting Organized in the Google Era
Represents: Near-instant retrieval of information, and a reduced need to memorize. Ability to scale.
The Twitter Era: 401,100 Google results
In context: "Campaigning In the Twitter Era", "Customer Loyalty in the Twitter Era", "Losing Our Literary Legacy In the Twitter Era"
Represents: Near-instant ability to communicate and a real-time medium.
Is it over? No.
The Facebook Era: 1,040,000 Google results
In context: "Understanding the Facebook Era", "Buzzfeed, the Ad Model for the Facebook Era", "How to Get Over Your Ex In the Facebook Era"
Hey look! A book: The Facebook Era
Represents: Increased connections with social ties, and ease of discovering personal information.
Is it over? No, although one Huffington Post contributor thinks so.
The myspace Era: 59,500 Google results
In context: "Research Ethics In the Myspace Era", "An Indy Film for the Myspace Era", "Checking References In the Myspace Era"
Represents: Like Facebook, only earlier, more personal information online, simple creative sharing.
Is it over? Yes. Absolutely. This dude missed the whole thing.
The Blogging Era: 150,000 Google results
In context: "What are the classics of the blogging era?", "Living in the Blogging Era", "Individuals who started off the blogging era have changed the way the web 'Ticks'."
Represents: Ability for anyone to publish, in long form, at no cost.Is it over? Getting there. In 2004, this guy claimed 2014 would finish it up.
The Android Era: 297,000 Google results
Represents: The entry and rapid adoption of Android as a smartphone OS.Is it over? No.
The YouTube Era: 210,000 Google results
In context: "Teaching Animation In the YouTube Era", "User research self-reporting in the YouTube Era", "Supreme Court Enters the YouTube Era"
Represents: The ability of anyone to publish video and have it be seen around the world. Also represents casual video consumption relative to professionalIs it over? No.
The Dotcom Era: 1,490,000 Google results
In context: "Biggest Fails at the Dawn of the Dotcom Era", "Buoyant Tech Shares Recall the Dotcom Era", "Every Single Idea from the Dotcom Era Was Correct"
Represents: Referred to as much as a bubble as an era these days, the first rush online by traditional services and businesses. Many did exceptionally well. Many more disappeared.Is it over? Yes. At least the first round.
The Microsoft Era: 423,000 Google results
In context: "First the IBM Era, Next the Microsoft Era, Google Next?" "Windows 8 - The Renewal of the Microsoft Era"
Represents: The last few decades of a world where personal computing was dominated by Windows PCs and Microsoft software.
The Steve Jobs Era: 67,900 Google results
In context: "Four Design Lessons from the Steve Jobs Era", "Visualizing the Steve Jobs Era", "Top Ten Apple Ads of the Steve Jobs Era"
Represents: Steve's personal impact on the world of technology, design, marketing and one of the most successful companies in Valley and tech history.Is it over? Unfortunately, yes, as Steve passed away, but his impact lives on.
The Netflix Era: 41,600 Google results
In context: "Financing Films In the Netflix Era", "How One Small Video Store Manages to Survive in the Netflix Era"
Represents: On demand instant access to a wide variety of films and TV shows, and the business impact for those in more traditional markets. A disruption of Hollywood.
Is it over? No.
So what era are we in? If you went by total numbers, the Dotcom Era had the most Google results, but that's historical by nature. The Facebook Era is in second place, with Google properties, including YouTube and Android having nearly as many when combined. The iPad era is still strong, with Twitter putting on a good rising show, and Microsoft being high in the rankings, given its market penetration.