So, 2020 happened.
And social media platforms are starting to look back at the ways we turned to the internet to connect and cope with the pandemic and its related economic upheaval this year, as well as the contentious U.S. presidential election and the widespread protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
Both Reddit and Twitter
have released their insights for the year this week, and both year-end recaps have a lot in common.
The COVID-19 pandemic was the biggest influencer of the year, of course, considering the devastating toll it has taken on human lives and livelihoods, as well as the ways that the novel coronavirus has impacted everyday life by shutting down schools and nonessential businesses at times, and pushing more people to self-isolate and spend more time at home. There were more than 67.7 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus globally as of Tuesday, according to the latest tracking data, and the death toll is 1.55 million and counting.
On Twitter, #COVID19 was the top hashtag used by the most people across the globe, with the hashtag and other variations on it tweeted nearly 400 million times this year.
What’s more, #StayHome was the third most-used hashtag of the year on Twitter. And there have been more than 7,000 tweets a minute about TV and movies globally as folks have entertained themselves more at home — leading usage of the couch or sofa emoji on Twitter to jump 40% this year, as well.
Tweets about cooking also tripled as pandemic lockdowns drove increasingly bored individuals to go nuts about baking bread, or pushing folks to become more comfortable in their kitchens as local restaurants temporarily (or sometimes permanently) shut down.
But the second-most tweeted hashtag was #BlackLivesMatter after the movement — and much of the globe — was galvanized by the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police on Memorial Day. Floyd was also the third most-tweeted-about person of the year.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden were the top two most-tweeted-about individuals this year as the world watched the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which Joe Biden won, but which Trump and many of his supporters have yet to concede.
As for the most popular individual tweets of the year, the post announcing the death of beloved “Black Panther” actor Chadwick Boseman from his official Twitter account in August was both the most retweeted and the most liked tweet of the year.
The pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement also resonated with the Reddit community, with more than 50.2 million mentions of COVID, COVID-19 or coronavirus counted across the platform. COVID-related Reddit threads discussed social distancing, medical advice, reliable sources, wearing masks and herd immunity the most.
Redditors turned to each other for help with unemployment this year, in particular, as the r/unemployment community recorded a whopping 48,286% year-over-year activity increase. What’s more, r/coronavirusrecession and r/stimuluscheck were the two biggest business communities created by Reddit subscribers in 2020, as people around the world grappled with losing their jobs as a result of pandemic stay-at-home measures shuttering businesses — many of them for good.
Reddit also counted a 9972.4% year-over-year increase in its r/backlivesmatter community, where the most-discussed topics were George Floyd, police brutality, social media, Breonna Taylor and systemic racism.
Reddit’s most upvoted post featured British singer-songwriter Rick Astley sharing some funny backstage photos and memories from his first tour in 1989 as a feel-good pick-me-up. And two of its most upvoted AMAs (Ask Me Anything events) included Sacha Baron Cohen fielding questions as his character Borat to help promote his movie sequel on Amazon
as well as Microsoft
founder Bill Gates answering questions about COVID-19.
YouTube, on the other hand, decided to pause its annual Rewind video recap of the year, explaining in a statement posted to Twitter last month that “it doesn’t feel right” after the events of this year to carry on with the tradition.
“We know that so much of the good that did happen in 2020 was created by all of you,” the statement continued. “You’ve found ways to lift people up, help them cope, and make them laugh. You made a hard year genuinely better. Thank you for making a difference.”