Woman makes a heart with hands while chatting online

In a year that started with people pledging to step away from their phones and adopt a more mindful use of tech, the “digital detoxing” to aid people overwhelmed by online games and excessive use of social media had to be shelved.

An unprecedent pandemic, spreading throughout the world in 2020, grounded us at home and forced us to adapt to social distancing rules. And, with nowhere to go, the online world became a massive part of our new world. This integration with the online world since the outbreak has led to 48% of US and UK consumers using social media more for their source of news, a recently published GlobalWebIndex survey shows.

But it was platforms enabling people to engage in face-to-face contact, even if only virtually, that rapidly became an extension of our senses. From Skype conferences to Zoom meetings, Facebook groups to the avalanche of Instagram Lives, and TikTok videos inundating our social media timelines. And suddenly social media, which saw 321 million new users in 2019, according to a Wearesocial 2020 Digital report,  published in partnership with social media management website Hootsuite gained a whole new meaning. Social media was now playing a positive role in impacting lives, instead of being accused of triggering mental health issues.

Thanks to social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, amongst others, during the 2020 lockdown people have actually created new communities, changed careers, and launched projects and even mourned for loved ones.