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COMMENT: Google Zeitgeist 2011 – Year In Review

Posted on Tuesday, 3 January by

Any reflective video involving a rose tinted look over the year is going to be skewed to be positive. Despite some pretty awful things happening this year, the Google Zeitgeist 2011 video manages to make 2011 not look like that bad a year – and it’s actually quite an emotional watch.

In 2011, we hit landmarks. The Earth’s population reached 7 billion people, it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and countries everywhere caused uproar, fighting for their rights and independence.

In 2011, we saw natural disasters of an enormous scale. The floods in Brazil and the horrendous earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan dominated the news for weeks as anxiety developed over the nuclear reactor and the living conditions of many people affected by the disaster. I always find that many people define on how big a news story is by saying ‘I remember where I was when I found out’. Bizarrely, I was in the gym when the story broke on the television and footage of the explosions played out. I didn’t have my glasses so I couldn’t make out the scrolling text – Horribly, I assumed it was some bad film until I got home to see the exact same footage and to my horror realising this was unfurling in reality. Japan responded beautifully to all of the damage and can only be admired, hopefully they will continue to recover as well.

In 2011, the elite were in the spotlight even more than we are used to. The wedding of Katherine Middleton and Prince William captured the nation’s hearts and the kiss on the balcony must have been the most sought after photograph of the year and the crowning moment (no pun intended!) of the day for the many who witnessed it. You can hear the approving roars of the crowd from the YouTube video – a celebration for all. Barack Obama was making headlines everywhere delivering the news that Osama bin Laden was killed – I’m not sure many people cared for his birth certificate after that.

However, the Zeitgeist video didn’t appeal to me because of all of that. The reason I find this video so wonderful, uplifting and inspiring are the lesser known YouTube clips of individuals triumphing over their own personal struggles. A man comes out to his father over the phone and asks if he still loves him. A soldier arrives home early to surprise his mother who screams with joy at the sight of him. Perhaps the most poignant for me, was a 29 year old woman hearing for the first time and bursting into tears. She looks overwhelmed and disbelieving. What a wonderful year 2011 must have been for these people.

As the video says, 2011 was a year for adversity, crossroads, revolution, remembrance, possibility and inspiration. Please do watch it, and may your 2012 be everything you wish.

Happy New Year.

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Viki Richards

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