A short time ago, our colleagues in the Department of Public Safety received a Stop Bias complaint from an individual reporting what appeared to be an anti-Semitic symbol drawn on a white board in Hinds Hall. An immediate investigation revealed…
A Look Back at Life in 2003
As the University welcomes students from around the globe to its campus, we’re time traveling back to 2003—the year many individuals comprising our incoming Class of 2025 were born. Mostly fueled by the accelerated pace of technological advancement, much has changed about our lives since then.
Here are six ways things were noticeably different 18 years ago.
- Social media was in its infancy.
It’s hard to remember a time when scrolling TikTok, Instagram or Twitter wasn’t part of our everyday lives, but in 2003? MySpace, which would become the largest social media network in the world from 2005 to 2008, had just been invented. Facebook didn’t come onto the scene until 2004, Twitter until 2006, Instagram until 2010 and TikTok until 2016.
- We were all about that T-9 life.
Smartphones were relatively rare in 2003, with BlackBerry just starting to catch on among predominantly business users. The best-selling cell phone in 2003 was the Nokia 1100, on which you could call and text but not much else. Before unlimited texting plans became ubiquitous, users would pay 15 to 20 cents per text or have a monthly allotment of texts—so you had to make every message count. The first iPhone wouldn’t be released until 2007.
- To obtain food, you had to (mostly) leave the house.
Grubhub, Instacart, Uber Eats and DoorDash hadn’t been invented yet. Sure, you could have a pizza delivered back then, but the world of ordering any type of cuisine you desire with just a few finger taps was at least a decade away in 2003.
- Network TV was still king.
Before Netflix, Hulu, Sling, HBO Max, Disney+ and Apple TV (need we go on?) gave us a million things to watch at any given moment, Americans were still hooked on primetime network television. The top shows in 2003 were “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (CBS), “American Idol” (FOX) and “Friends” (NBC), the final season of which would air the following year in 2004.
- Streaming music was not a thing.
If you wanted to listen to one of the top albums of 2003 (“Get Rich or Die Tryin’” by 50 Cent, John Mayer’s “Heavier Things” or the “Bad Boys II” soundtrack, perhaps), you would more than likely hit a local music store like FYE or Sam Goody and buy the CD. YouTube didn’t launch until 2005, Spotify followed in 2006 and Apple Music wasn’t available until 2015.
- Men’s hoops had everyone coming down with Orange fever.
The spring of 2003 marks the last time the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team claimed the title of NCAA Division 1 National Champion in a nailbiter game against the Kansas Jayhawks. While we could do without the return to flip phones and compact discs, here’s one piece of history from that era we wouldn’t mind repeating. Go Orange!