The 1990s was truly the electronic age. We would not have been able to publish our decades web site if it weren't for the Internet. The World Wide Web was born in 1992, changing the way we communicate, spend our money, and do business. By 1994, 3 million people were online. And by 1998, this figure increased to 100 million people.
The terms internet and World Wide Web (WWW) are used to describe the same thing: using your computer and a service provider to go online and access a seemingly endless number of "web pages" and "websites." Access to the WWW is provided by companies known as internet service providers. In 1992, the dial-up online services began to add WWW access to their regular internet offerings. Delphi was the first, followed by Prodigy, Compuserve, and America Online in 1995.
The late 90's brought some new problems. These included viruses and worms, fraudulent websites, spam and copyright infringement issues.The Year 2000 problem expected to happen on January 1, 2000 sorta fizzled out as everyone was pretty well prepared.
John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette are killed when Kennedy's private plane crashes off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.
The 1990s were marked by rapid progression of globalization following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. In the 1990's the United States played the role of world policeman, sometimes alone but more often in alliances. 1993 brought terrorism to the American shores as a bomb was detonated in the garage beneath the World Trade Center.
Violence seemed a part of life. In 1992 South-Central Los Angeles rioted after four white policemen were acquitted of video-taped assault charges for beating a black motorist, Rodney King.
Fads included in-line skates, beanie babies, Furby, Tickle Me Elmo, Yo-yos, tattoos and body piercing. Video games, paint balls, laser tag, snowboarding, and cosmic bowling were popular. Rock climbing, mountain biking, sky diving, mountain climbing, bungee jumping, windsurfing and rowing were big sports. 21-year-old Golfer Tiger Woods won the Masters Tournament by a record 12 strokes; becoming both the youngest and the first American of multiracial descent to win the Masters.
For youth, the fashion of the decade began with Grunge on one hand and preppie on the other. Hip Hop style was popular. Boys' jeans have grown bigger and bigger, worn low on the hips, and girls are wearing bellbottoms and poor boy tops reminiscent of the 70's.
Models Pamela Anderson and Anna Nicole Smith become major sex symbols during the 1990s. Cindy Crawford becomes the most successful supermodel of the decade. Many women were helped cosmetically speaking, by Lasik eye surgery, breast implants, soft disposable contacts, liposuction, skin laser resurfacing, chemical peels, collagen lip injections, Rogaine, and colored contact lenses.
Popular music became grunge, alternative or hip-hop. Country music was more popular than ever and became more mainstream. Latino music grew in popularity. Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men led the charts with "One Sweet Day." Other popular artists included Hootie & the Blowfish, Alanis Morrisette, Janet Jackson, Garth Brooks, Celine Dion and Madonna. The Spice Girls were a group created by the music industry for their diversity and sex appeal.
The CD was introduced in 1982. By 1993, it was the #1 recording format, having surpassed record albums in 1988 and cassettes in 1993. By 1990, most record stores were selling their last remaining vinyl albums for $1 each to get rid of them.
There were big hits on Broadway and around the country. Andrew Lloyd Webber continued throughout the decade with Cats. Les Misérables continued to be popular in theaters
Popular TV shows included Cheers, 60 Minutes, Home Improvement, Seinfeld, E.R., Touched by an Angel, Friends, Veronica's Closet, NFL Monday Night Football, Frasier, Full House, Family Matters, Married With Children, Step By Step, Empty Nest, Roseanne, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Nanny, Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The Cosby Show, Grace Under Fire, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, Hi Honey, I'm Home!, Davis Rules, and Major Dad, Murphy Brown, Coach, Ellen, The Golden Girls, Wings, Night Court, Cheers, Third Rock From The Sun, Caroline In The City, Northern Exposure, The Simpsons, South Park, America's Funniest Home Videos, America's Funniest People, Cops, Unsolved Mysteries, America's Most Wanted, Teletubbies, and Barney & Friends.
Talk shows were going strong with Conan O'Brien, Tonight Show, David Letterman, Oprah Winfrey, Montel Williams, Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones, Ricki Lake, Regis & Kathie Lee, Larry King Live, Sally Jessy Raphael, Rosie O'Donnell, and Arsenio Hall. Television's Martha Stewart, became the guru of home crafts and design.
At work, the old-fashioned metal and wooden desks were gone....now we had workstations. Dress down Fridays became commonplace and gradually developed into a more casual work dress code altogether. In 1995, cordless phones were owned by 59 percent of the population, and answering machines were owned by 60 percent. .
Beanie Babies were an incredible craze that died away because of the prices. Tickle Me Elmo was epic mass appeal for children. Barney, American Girls, Super-Soakers, Tamagotchi virtual pets, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had wide appeal.
By the late 90s, almost 70 percent of all households were subscribers to cable TV, and shows that appeared exclusively on cable were as popular as the network shows. Cell phone ownership increased dramatically in the 90's. In 1995, 23 percent of the population had a cell phone. This figure increased to 58 percent by 2000.
The dollar store became popular in the 90's. Large stores that specialize in a particular type of merchandise such as electronics, books, and home decor wer known as big-box retailers.
Sport Utility Vehicles became very popular among families, and effectively replaced the station wagon as the stereotypical family vehicle.