Year in Review: People and Culture

Posted by on Dec 28, 2017 in Year in Review

While the Trump administration dominated the headlines this year, a lot was still going on behind the scenes in the world of sports, social media, and culture. Here, a look at some of the trends that shaped 2017.

Digital Life

Of course, social media played more of a role in people’s lives this year than ever before–and in new ways. Activists used social media to rally support for events, spread information quickly, and form resistance communities. But at the same time, Facebook and other social media platforms came under fire for allowing hate groups to purchase ads that used controversial or hot-button topics to influence people.

The ever-increasing role of social media has created other exciting social changes as well. For example, many companies have begun instituting “reverse mentorship” programs in which newer, younger employees are paired with older or higher-ranking ones to help the older employees navigate the world of social media, emailing, and texts.

As our technological skills grow, however, so do the associated risks. Hacking was a major theme this year . . . and not just by the Russians. Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies in the country, was hacked in September. And in November, the ride-sharing service Uber finally revealed–a year after the fact–that hackers had stolen the personal information of more than 57 million riders and drivers.


Most notable about the world of sports in 2017 was not the games themselves, but rather the players, who used their unique position in the public eye to protest injustice. NFL athletes drew harsh criticism from President Trump when they protested racial inequality in the United States by refusing to stand for the national anthem. Also, professional sports teams let their dollars speak for them when they took their business elsewhere while on the road, boycotting Trump hotels.

At the same time, the sports world became more aware of the need to acknowledge diversity and changing demographics. One sporting goods company, Nike, came up with the “Pro Hijab” for Muslim women and girls who wish to participate in sports.

Women and #MeToo

It’s no wonder that Merriam-Webster declared the official word of 2017 to be “feminism.” January’s Million Woman March on Washington, a protest of Trump’s election, was the largest single-day demonstration ever to take place on American soil. And women didn’t stop there. The #MeToo social media campaign drew nationwide attention to sexual harassment and assault and led to new pro-victim legislation in Washington DC, as well as the firing of many legislators, entertainers, and other public figures for their inappropriate conduct towards women.

Meanwhile, Google faced discrimination charges for paying female employees less than male employees, and Boy Scouts broke with years of tradition to allow female members for the first time in history.

What Do You Think? In 2017, social media became more important to us than ever before. What are some ways that your day-to-day life has been influenced by social media? Do you think that these changes are more positive, negative, or both? Explain.