Here’s a recap of the biggest social media moments of 2020

by Joke De Dobbelaere · 14/12/2020

2020 has been a year full of crazy surprises and plot twists that no one asked for. While many of you must be looking forward to starting a new year, we wanted to give you a recap of the most significant moments on social media of the past year. From COVID-19 related memes to Tiger King taking over the internet, a lot has happened, so get comfortable, grab a snack and let’s dive right in!

Rodion kutsaev 0 VGG7cq Tw Co unsplash

Instagram went all out this year

Instagram has always been an innovative shareholder in the social media landscape. But in 2020 the photo sharing platform took it to another level. Besides redesigning the app’s homescreen, Instagram also introduced a couple of new features like a shop tab, guides and of course the brand new reels page where creators can upload short TikTok-like video formats. Additionally, Instagram added new fonts to their stories while also expanding the length limit on Live sessions.

2020 became the year of online activism

The presence of activism on social media platforms has risen strongly over the past year. Many celebrities, well known brands and activists used their social media to speak out against injustice in a way that has never been seen before, creating a sense of solidarity and socialism. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was trending for weeks. On Twitter, people began matching donations en masse to bail funds. But the most visible social media effort came on June 2nd, when about 28 million people posted a plain black square to Instagram as part of #BlackoutTuesday.

Every major social platform has stories now

We all know and love Instagram’s story feature. The platform introduced this feature, reminiscent of the disappearing content on Snapchat, in 2016. Not long after that their mother company Facebook followed with their own version of stories on the News Feed. This year, we saw every major competitor catching up. LinkedIn released LinkedIn Stories, Pinterest joined with Pinterest Story Pins and Twitter completed the list with Twitter Fleets.

With this new feature, Twitter wants to reduce the pressure around tweeting by letting users express more casual thoughts and feelings while concerning themselves less with saying something profound or racking up likes and retweets, as the content is only available for 24 hours.

COVID-19: a great opportunity for memes

This year has been far from easy (for obvious reasons), but to keep the spirits high, the internet has provided us with an abundance of memes. In a time where we all could really use some joy, internet users around the world laughed at the one thing that has shaken up our lives so much: the coronavirus. From ‘Sign Guy’ to ‘Reese Witherspoon throughout the months’, people got real creative. And as per usual, the memes and their captions did not disappoint!

The rapid rise of TikTok

If you can only think of a Kesha song when hearing the name ‘Tik Tok’, you must have been living under a rock. TikTok is a video-sharing social network on which users can share a variety of short-form videos from genres like dance, comedy and education. The app was created in China where it is known as Douyin. in the past year, the app has reached over 800 million active users worldwide, and those numbers aren’t slowing down. One of the most popular ‘TikTokkers’ is 16-year old Charli D’Amelio. Charli was the first user to gain a whopping 100 million followers, despite only having an account since last year!

Snapchat introduces Spotlight.

Over the past year, TikTok videos and Instagram Reels gained massive popularity. Snapchat felt a certain pressure and couldn’t stay far behind. In 2020 they released a new feature called ‘Spotlight’, which allows users to submit creative videos to be shared with a wider Snapchat audience. Users who create the top Snaps on Spotlight, determined by an algorithm, have a chance of receiving a share of $1 million every day!

Will Facebook replace Tinder?

In 2020, Facebook launched a new, opt-in feature called Facebook Dating. Facebook must have noticed the popularity of dating apps, so they took their chances and released one of their own. Among the dating product’s main features are the ability to share Stories on your profile and a Secret Crush feature that lets you select up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers who you’d like to date without them knowing. When they add you back, a match notification gets triggered. Users of Facebook Dating also get the ability to see people with similar interests if they add their Facebook Events and Groups to their Dating profile. Additionally, the dating platform has a video chat feature called Virtual Dates. Bye bye swiping, hello Dating!

Mental health became a priority for many social media platforms

Social media don’t have the best reputation when it comes to mental health. Partly due to the COVID-crisis and all of us being stuck inside, things have gotten even worse. That’s why different social media companies started working on a mental health aid tool. Pinterest launched ‘Pinterest Wellbeing’, a tab which features emotional wellness activities. Snapchat did a similar thing called ‘Here For You’, a feature that shows safety resources from local experts when users search for certain topics, including those related to anxiety, depression and stress. Instagram collaborated with Netflix on ‘Wanna Talk About it’, a series in which young Netflix actors like Noah Centineo and Joey King answered questions about mental health and taking care of yourself during a global pandemic.

Tiger king ruled the internet

This year has felt like a lifetime. Y’all cool cats and kittens would almost forget that Tiger King, a Netflix documentary about an eccentric zookeeper called Joe Exotic, came out in 2020 as well. Over 34 million people watched the documentary in the first week and a half of its release, making it one of the most popular Netflix Originals to date. Of course the show quickly became an internet phenomenon. In the first ten days, the documentary generated over 1.8 million interactions on Twitter. The show’s crazy plot twists and flamboyant characters had everyone talking, and the viral buzz continued with some wonderful memes about Carole Baskin and the rest of the gang.

Facebook, Twitter & Google teamed up to combat misleading information about COVID-19

In a normal situation, Facebook, Twitter and Google wouldn’t collaborate as they are direct competitors. But 2020 is obviously an irregular year in which teamwork should be celebrated. Misinformation and fake news have been spreading across the world’s most popular social platforms as panic spreaded regarding the virus. That’s why social media giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google (partially through YouTube) joined forces to fight fraud and misinformation over the coronavirus pandemic and pushed official guidance on their platforms. In a joint statement the companies said they were working together in response to the outbreak and called on other companies to help.

What were your favourite social media moments of 2020?