As we reach the end of the decade, it’s time for some nostalgia and a look back at life in 2009. But how much has really changed?
In some ways, our culture is the same. “American Idol” is still on TV and Billboard’s top artists of the year were Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Lady Gaga.
But so much has changed, from how we consume TV to even the way we date.
2009 in the news
On Jan. 15, 2009, five days before President Obama’s first inauguration, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger pulled off a miraculous emergency landing in New York City’s Hudson River, saving everyone on board his flight and making him the nation’s most famous commercial pilot.
Steven Day/AP Photo
In this Thursday Jan. 15, 2009 file photo, airline passengers wait to be rescued on the wings of a US Airways Airbus 320 jetliner that safely ditched in the frigid waters of the Hudson River in New York.
When US Airlines Flight 1549 struck geese shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, the plane lost thrust in both engines. Sullenberger tried to turn back to the airport, but couldn’t make it.
(MORE: ‘All the pieces had to come together’: Capt. Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger says on 10th anniversary of miraculous Hudson River landing)
“I never had any extraneous thoughts in those few seconds that we had,” Sullenberger told ABC News this year. “I never thought about my family. I never thought about anything other than controlling the flight path and solving each problem in turn until, finally, we had solved them all.”
The plane swooped down over the George Washington Bridge and landed in the icy river. Then everyone evacuated.
Sullenberger told ABC News he was “on pins and needles for four terrorizing hours until finally that evening — still in the hospital being evaluated — I got the word it was official, everyone was safe. Only then could I feel the weight of the universe being lifted off my heart.”
But months later, the “Miracle on the Hudson” was overthrown as 2009’s most memorable event.
On June 25, 2009, people across the globe were glued to their TVs as they learned the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, had died.
Charley Gallay/Getty Images
Fans of pop star Michael Jackson sit vigil at talk radio host Michael Jackson’s Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame mourning his death on June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.
(MORE: ‘My God, Michael Jackson is dead’: The final hours leading up to the pop star’s death)
Jackson’s death was ruled an overdose of the drug propofol, and his doctor, Conrad Murray, went on to be convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a jury found him responsible for the lethal overdose.
Jackson’s legacy remained controversial a decade after his death.
In 2019, the late King of Pop was back in the spotlight when HBO released the documentary “Leaving Neverland” in which two men graphically described alleged child sexual abuse they said was at the hands of Jackson. The men claimed that Jackson introduced them, separately, to pornography and masturbation, and assaulted them on multiple occasions.
Jackson’s estate hit back at the film, with co-executor John Branca calling it a “made-for-TV-movie” and saying he didn’t believe there would be a long-term impact. The estate is suing HBO and the court has ordered that case into arbitration. Jackson’s accusers are suing two of his companies, but their case against the estate was dismissed.
Jackson had been acquitted of child sex abuse charges in 2005.
2009’s biggest pop culture moment
One of the biggest celebrity feuds of the decade — between Taylor Swift and Kanye West — ignited in 2009. At the MTV Video Music Awards, West interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech for best female video to say Beyonce was more deserving of the honor.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Kanye West jumps onstage after Taylor Swift won the "Best Female Video" award during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City.
(MORE: Taylor Swift addresses feud with Kanye West, says it caused ‘some really low times’)
By 2015, the feud seemed to cool. Swift was telling reporters that she and West had buried the hatchet, and they returned to the VMAs stage that summer where she presented him with the Video Vanguard Award.
But their relationship went south again on Feb. 14, 2016, when West released his single, “Famous,” which included the lyric, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that b—- famous.”
Swift seemed to slam in him a speech the next day at the Grammys, telling the crowd, “There are going to be people along the way who are going to try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.” Although West claimed that Swift approved the line and “gave her blessings,” Swift’s publicist insisted that the singer did not, and that actually, Swift “cautioned him about releasing a song with such a misogynistic message.”
Things escalated when West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, got involved, telling GQ Magazine that Swift manufactured the new fight to try to “play the victim again.” The reality TV star later released video of West discussing the controversial line with Swift on the phone, and in the footage, Swift thanked West for calling and said she expected to tell reporters after the song dropped: “Joke’s on you guys. We’re fine!”
Swift later accused Kardashian West of recording the footage without her knowledge, and said what she was really angry about was being called a “b—-.”
“You don’t get to control someone’s emotional response to being called ‘that b—-‘ in front of the entire world,” she wrote. “Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of since 2009.”
In 2017, Swift poked fun at the feud in her video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” in which she repeated her “narrative” comment and then told herself to shut up.
The feud has continued to 2019. In August, Swift told Vogue the drama was “humiliating” and she knew she “needed to make music about it” to “survive it.”
2009 vs 2019: The rise of social media
Chesnot/Getty Images, FILE
In this photo illustration, social media, Twitter, TikTok, WhatApp, Instagram, Threads, Snapchat, Facebook, Messenger and Telegram application logos are displayed on the screen of a smartphone, Oct. 7, 2019.
The first iPhone was released in 2007, and social media exploded. Twitter was created in 2006, but nearly tripled its activity between Feb. 2010 and March 2011.
(MORE: Instagram ‘likes’ disappearing from some photos and videos in US)
Instagram launched in 2010, and later gave rise to the modern-day “influencer,” amplifying the profiles of those who mastered the medium. Case in point? Kylie Jenner, the sixth most followed person on Instagram, built a billion-dollar beauty company by the age of 21, thanks at least in some part to her 151 million followers. Her older sister, Kim Kardashian West, has parlayed her immense following — 152 million and counting — into a beauty brand and a shape wear company.
What’s more, nearly every major company has a department dedicated to social media, with advertisers paying countless millions celebrities with big followings to promote their products. #ad
Kevin Tachman/mg19/Getty Images, FILE
Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian West and Kendall Jenner attend The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 6, 2019, in New York City.
2009 vs 2019: Dating
As we head into the next decade, our smartphones are the new matchmaker.
Meeting online is now the most popular way for Americans to meet a romantic partner, a Stanford sociologist found, according to a study published this year.
(MORE: How to boost your online dating profile in 2019)
In 2009, just 22 percent of heterosexual couples met online. A survey from 2017 found that number increase to about 39 percent, according to the Stanford study.
“In 2009, when I last researched how people find their significant others, most people were still using a friend as an intermediary to meet their partners,” Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld told Stanford News Service. “Back then, if people used online websites, they still turned to friends for help setting up their profile page. Friends also helped screen potential romantic interests.”
“People trust the new dating technology more and more, and the stigma of meeting online seems to have worn off,” he said.
2009 vs 2019: TV
In one decade, the way we consume TV has been completely revolutionized.
Networks and cable are ceding ground to streaming services and as we look to the next decade, cable subscriptions may become obsolete.
From Netflix to Hulu to HBO to Amazon, streaming is dominating our viewing habits as well as award shows. The latest streaming service to join the competition was Disney+ just last month.
In 2009, NBC’s “30 Rock” won outstanding comedy series, while “Mad Men,” which aired on cable, won best drama.
Fast-forward to the 2019 Emmys, where HBO took home 34 wins, Netflix garnered 27 and Amazon Prime Video won 15, according to TheWrap.com.
The networks trailed much further behind. NBC had seven wins, CBS had four and ABC had one.