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.
I connected with 9,800 moms
“On March 15, as COVID quickly became a reality for parents, I started the Facebook group Moms Making it Together for mothers to share, support and smile through this next ‘normal’. It started as a group text between three of my best friends. Then, a shared note with my Girl Scout Troop; it has become a Facebook group that now has over 9,800 moms across the US and a few international ones, too. As our world has continued to change this year, this group has grown together. l like to think of them as the 9,800 best-friend-strangers I never knew I needed.”
Deanna Anderson – Managing Director, founder of Moms Making it Together
I found confidence and friends on the road
“About six months ago I did something I’ve wanted to do for years – quit my corporate job, switched to freelancing, spent $10,500 of my savings building a campervan to then live in it full-time.
It’s been incredibly fun, so far. But I realized that loneliness is very much a reality of being on the road. Since I didn’t have my old group of friends around anymore, I started using Instagram to see who else was on the road and made many new connections. This helped me to build my confidence in establishing my own vanlife personality.
And now I am on my way to Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest, to meet up with my new van friends.”
Hilary Bird – Solo traveller and blogger at GreenVanGo.com
I’ve got a new career
“I used to work as a journalist and editor, but I felt really burnt out at my previous job and wanted to pursue acting and modelling instead – which I had started doing as a side hustle. So, I started to post videos from commercials and music videos I appeared in, photos from modelling shoots and behind the scenes, and grew my audience to over 500,000 active followers on Instagram. Over the past 12 months social media has helped change both my life and career. Social media has ultimately allowed me the freedom to be my own boss, as 80% of my income comes from sponsored content I post regularly.”
Jarry Lee – Model and influencer
I launched a children’s book and spoke to kids worldwide
“During lockdown, I got the chance to do many Zoom presentations of my picture books, doing so in front of an international audience – something I’d never done before. The most distant audience I had was in South Africa, as I live in Baltimore, Maryland. I gave that presentation on June 3rd at 11:30 am (EDT) and it was 5:30 pm there;
so, I was reading a bedtime story to about one hundred pre-schoolers in South Africa.”
Bracha Goetz – Harvard graduate turned children author
It helped me to become a full-time artist
“I was an architect for eight years. Then, I moved to Germany to pursue job opportunities, but I wasn’t happy and needed to make personal and professional changes. That’s when I decided to start making the transition from architecture to painting. As I didn’t know anyone in my new country, social media was the only platform I had to show my art and promote myself. I used the lockdown months to paint more and showcase my work online. So far in 2020, I have managed to sell five pieces at a high ticket value that far surpasses what I was earning in my previous job. This led to me, this year, taking the very important decision to quit my 9 – 5 job and becoming a full-time painter.”
Tiago Azevedo – Surrealist painter
My dad’s memorial was a live feed via Facebook
“Shortly before our local government declared a lockdown in our city, my
father was hospitalized due to renal complications and we were able to get in touch with him via video calls on Facebook. As he remained in care – and social distancing rules and increasing COVID-19 cases in our area meant we couldn’t visit dad – we also created a private group with all our family members. This group meant we could send our love, get updated on the situation, and even share jokes to lighten everyone’s mood.
Unfortunately, he passed away and, with group gatherings prohibited during the height of the pandemic, we decided to have his memorial on a live feed, via Facebook, since all
my family and relatives are connected there. It was a surreal moment but
having everyone there made the situation tolerable.”
Nicole Garcia – CMO at Most Craft