1997–2011

I'm sure it's not just me that feels a strange sense of closure from the last few days. It's as if the noughties, that strange, awkwardly-named decade, has finally come to an end. An era kicked off by two violent events that shocked the world – the death of Princess Diana and the 9/11 attacks – has been punctuated poetically by the mirror events of the Royal wedding and the execution of Osama bin Laden. Horror has been balanced with (questionable) celebration.

Both events were cause for an unprecedented flurry of social networking commentary. On Friday, it felt as if everyone on earth was competing to come up with the best 140-character royal wedding quip. Beyond the punnery though, it was incredible to feel part of a global, communal event. All eyes were, for once, on the same thing. And yesterday, the stunned reaction reverberating across Twitter and Facebook was palpable, and the global debate about what this all actually meant took place in an instant.

This highlights one significant change that has occurred throughout protracted decade: when those tragedies happened in Paris and New York, there was no Twitter to act as mankind's mouthpiece. There was no Facebook. There was no MySpace. It seems odd, alien, to think that when the towers fell, we weren't all tweeting our reactions. What did we do? We couldn't even drown out the despair with the comfort-blanket of an iPod!

The switch from passively receiving the opinions of the few to actively contributing to the din of the many has been swiftly embraced, perhaps catalysed by a communal feeling of being powerless and mute in the wake of such destructive events. We have been through a commentary revolution. Quite where it goes from here is anyone's guess, but there's certainly no going back to how it was.

Now all we have to do is decide what the heck we're going to call this new decade …