What a year!
It's safe to say that when we were wishing our loved ones 'happy new years' back in January none of us saw a global pandemic on the horizon.
By the end of March, we were in a national lockdown and so the majority of us were stuck inside. As we were all sitting on our couches trying to find ways to pass the evenings, we collectively flocked to social media. It allowed us to stay connected at a time where we couldn't even give our Grans' a hug.
Over the years the incorporation of social media into our day to day to lives has massively increased with "3.81 billion people using social media this year alone. This is up almost double from 2.07 billion in 2015."
Every year, each social media company makes changes to their site in the hopes to stay relevant, improve user experience and entertain and engage people in new, exciting ways.
So without further ado, here's your round-up of the biggest changes in social media this year!
Well, it's safe to say that Tik Tok blew up this year! It proved itself to be a major contender with the other platforms; even if you don't know what they look like, there's a very good chance that you have heard the names Charli D'Amlio and Addison Rae.
Formerly known as the app Musical.ly, it was bought by ByteDance and they merged it with another one of their products - Tik Tok. They launched the app in September 2016 and since then it has grown significantly!
The app itself has 800 million active users monthly and has been downloaded 2 billion times. 75.5 million of those downloads occurred back in March of this year, causing a growth of 75% compared to it's February stats.
Tik Tok has proven that it's here to stay.
Speaking of Tik Tok, one of Instagram's newest and biggest changes this year was the introduction of Reels. Launched back in August, Reels were Instagram's response to the ever-growing popularity of Tik Tok but with an ever so shorter run time of 15-30 seconds. They appear on your feed but you can open them up on the Reels tab to see the video in full length. The jury is still out on whether they'll be more popular, or at least equal to Tik Tok.
As well as Reels, they introduced a Shop tab. They can now both be found on the homepage as part of Instagram's new layout.
You now have to access the camera icon and your activity at the top of the home screen next to the Instagram Direct icon. Unlike the cautious response to Reels, many have vocalised their distaste for the new layout.
In terms of the smaller changes they made, they jazzed up the options for Stories. There are now a total of 9 different fonts that can be used. Also in a bid to be more accessible, they've given creators the option to add automatic captions for their IGTVs.
If their changes have proven anything this year, it's that Instagram is trying its hardest to stay relevant in the ever-changing modern world. It'll be interesting to see how their popularity changes over the coming years.
With more than 660 million users, LinkedIn has firmly established itself as THE professional platform. However, it's still competing with the other major platforms and subsequently has adopted similar features.
You now have the opportunity to go live! Unlike the other platforms though, you have to submit an application and be granted permission by LinkedIn to gain access. Things like your audience size, history and engagement are all taken into consideration. The application process makes their version of live streaming more exclusive and perhaps to act as a reminder that this is still a professional platform.
Again, like its competitors, LinkedIn has now included Stories on the app. You can share updates with your connections and after 24 hours they will go. To try and maintain that work-related content, the app provides suggestions such as 'Question of the Day'.
As LinkedIn continues to grow, it'll be intriguing to see if and how they will incorporate social media trends into the professional world.
You guessed it, we've got another version of stories.
Instead, Twitter is referring to them as 'Fleets' in which you post a tweet for 24 hours and then it disappears.
Twitter marketed the idea as giving you the option to put out some less permanent thoughts; you no longer have to second guess whether you should tweet those random thoughts that pop into your head at 3 AM.
Similar to the Instagram layout, this change wasn't met with enthusiasm. Only time will tell whether Twitter users will get on board and use this new feature.
Back at the start of the year, Facebook had a major makeover. Their new layout was rolled out onto desktop, following its introduction on mobile in late 2019.
The layout itself is more focused on the Groups and Events features.
With a more minimalist feel to it, the homepage is now split into 3 sections: the left side is where you can find the search bar and access things like events and games, the middle part is where your feed and icons are (Groups, Marketplace etc) and the right side is where your contacts and messenger can be found.
Statuses also had an upgrade with the option to use a colourful background and font change, giving you a more creative way to express what's on your mind.
They've even given users the option to switch to dark mode.
This makeover was a drastic change for Facebook and it'll be interesting to see if they'll continue to make big changes in 2021.
So that's been social media in the year 2020.
The year as a whole forced us all to adapt and bought more of us online, showing us the importance of digital connection.
We don't know what 2021 will bring but we look forward to seeing how the major platforms change up their format to keep us entertained.