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Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive. This is our final blog for 2021 before we take a holiday hiatus – we’ll see you for more Friday Faves in 2022!
2021: A year in review
Anne says: This year was some year! So was last year but I seem to have blurred away last year already (short term memory loss has been noted as a consequence of extended lockdowns during the pandemic).
I struggled to know how to sum up 2021. Typically, at this time of the year, articles are abundant in predictions for the following year. But somehow this year, I find myself reading them and thinking: “Really?”
It’s difficult to predict the next phase of work during the next surge of the pandemic. How will hybrid work be defined? Will the technologies we use alter, again? Will our emphasis on connections with colleagues shift a gear, or two? How will our health and well-being approaches fit into all of this?
So many questions, not enough information to answer them!
But the world kept going, mostly. And so much has happened, it’s sometimes hard to put everything into perspective. That’s when I came across this collection of photos from Getty Images. Categorised into News, Sports, Entertainment, and Archives. Cleverly curated, far from exhaustive and with a somewhat US bent. It’s a great way to review a year. Even on a personal note, have a look back at your photos for 2021. Could you curate a collection with your own categories? Or monthly experiences? What would you select? And where does your work experiences fit into this? (Jakkii and I considered Zoom screenshots as the most likely representation of our workplace).
For me, there was still something missing from the collection of images. To fill that void, Bill Gates’ article: Reasons for optimism after a difficult year addressed some of the issues. However, he talks about “settling into a new normal”.
There is NO new normal. Everything that was normal, will never be the same, things have changed, we have changed and if you haven’t… you need to go back to the images and re-read Bill Gates’ article and consider the experiences from the rest of the world.
Apologies – that was a bit of Grinch style comment like telling kids there is no Santa. But a new normal is a furphy (an Australian term that is a rumour or a story, especially one that is absurd). It’s just reality and right now, building norms of behaviour (making things normal) will not be happening for the immediate, short term future.
Notwithstanding the new normal, Bill Gates’ reasons for optimism for 2022 are valuable reminders of what we can achieve, together. The new reality will be underpinned by flexibility, resilience and a mindset that is willing to adapt, seasoned with a dash of optimism.
My review of 2021, looking forward into 2022, is going to reset, reframe and readjust.
Jakkii says: Crikey Moses, what a year this has been. A look back at my “oh, what a year” comments from last year’s Christmas wrap and all I can think now is “oh, you sweet summer child.” Instead of being better, 2021 somehow managed to take all the bad from 2020 and make it worse. I will not be the least bit sorry to say goodbye to this year in 15 days (who’s counting? Oh, that’s right, me!), and I’m trying really hard to look towards 2022 with optimism and positivity – even if there’s a pall of caution over the top of it.
And yet, no matter how keen we may be to kick 2021 out the door, there’s still plenty to reflect on.
Google’s Year in Search 2021
Globally, the top 3 searches for the year were dominated by cricket – I think we might have the population of India to thank for that. Australians were also obsessed with sport, with the top 5 overall covering 5 different sports. In news events, covid took out 3 of the top 5 searches, while Cleo Smith and Alec Baldwin were the other two big news search stories for the year.
Scrolling through the trends from January to December is quite interesting, giving us glimpses into what formed part of our collective consciousness at the time. Some of the notable overall trends they talked about were searches for things like doomscrolling, affirmations and soulmates, as well as a number of climate and climate-related topics like sustainability and how to conserve energy. Over in the US, there’s a good round-up on Recode, where they grouped the trends for the US into three main buckets: economic interest and insecurity; generational divides and TikTok trends, and how to move forward. That last one I think is where a lot of people are at, at least anecdotally – it’s been almost 2 years of pandemic, and while it isn’t at all over, we’re looking at ways to move forward, with – as Anne says above – flexibility, resilience, adaptability and optimism.
Mashable’s 13 memes that defined 2021
tomorrow is march again and i’m not sure how to feel http://pic.twitter.com/IAnCumh7ee
— jen • TODAY! (@goIdenspacegirl) February 28, 2021
Now, if you’re not big into memes or internet culture, you may not be familiar with all of these. But while some are simply a new meme format, some of them are or were completely relevant, even if they’re new to you now, touching on topics like the Ever Given getting stuck in the Suez Canal, Harry, Meghan & Oprah, Bernie Sanders, vaccinations, and the CDC.
For even more memes, you can check out Esquire’s best memes of 2021.
working from working from
home in home in
March 2020 March 2021 http://pic.twitter.com/U8h7gj3mKb
— Kyle 🛹 (@PostCubie) March 1, 2021
Pop culture of 2021
@tiktokJoin us as we celebrate the trends, moments and movements that made 2021-of-a-kind. Thank you for being part of the ##YearOnTikTok !♬ Year On TikTok 2021 – TikTok
In social media and streaming: the same year YouTube finally retired its Rewind (then ‘replaced’ it with a livestream event called Escape 2021), Spotify went hard on Spotify Wrapped, with your Your Spotify Wrapped including short videos from popular artists thanking people for listening to them during 2021. TikTok released their first annual recap, showcasing viral trends (see the video above), and YouTube Music released a 2021 Recap to compete with Spotify. (If you’re curious but don’t want to read their whole blog, the global top 5 streamed artists on Spotify were Bad Bunny, Taylor Swift, BTS, Drake & Justin Bieber)
In more traditional media: Nine Publishing’s mastheads published a best in show: the top TV programs of 2021 list, as well as a list of books we loved in 2021, while our friends at Sydney Business Insights gave their thoughts in a podcast on the top business books of 2021. Movies got plenty of attention in various media, with Roger Ebert listing his top 10 films of 2021, ABC looking at the movies that came out on top this year (and those you probably should avoid), WIRED listing their best sci-fi movies of the year, Polygon taking a look at the year’s top documentaries, and Vulture looking at what made a movie great in 2021. Musically, Pitchfork gave us their top 100 songs of 2021 and as well as their year’s 50 best albums, while Rolling Stone gave their take on the top 50 albums of 2021 as well.
Looking ahead to 2022
As I said earlier, I’m looking forward with cautious optimism, with no expectations or even predictions for what might come – it’s a wait and see, take it as it comes, roll with it kind of deal for me. But there are trends and predictions articles for 2022 out there, as there are every year. Here’s a few I came across:
- 22 predictions for the consumer internet in 2022
And that about sums it up for 2021! Thanks for reading our Friday Faves this year.
We’re taking a good solid break over the holidays to refresh and recharge, and we hope you get the chance to do that, too. I think we could all really use it. We’ll be back with Friday Faves in February. We’ll see you then, and in the meantime, stay safe, and have a very happy holidays from all of us here at Ripple Effect Group.
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