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  • Melanie Hardcastle

2020 Internet Trends + The "Quarantine Internet"



I'm sure we all have a few choice words to describe 2020, but today, we're zeroing in on how the internet -- and our habits around it -- changed this year.


A recent NPR podcast dives into the wild and weird world of "Quar Culture". It's equal parts funny, relatable and WTF-I-definitely-missed-that. Below are some 2020 highlights they discuss, plus a few of my own observations.


  • Memes that reflect the current (and often absurd) state of events. Examples: "My plans/2020”; “What isn’t X but feels X?” and “How this email found me”.

  • Even more exponential growth for TikTok. Users outside of the typical user base joined the app to kill additional free time, and learned TikTok dances that they could perform at home. TikTok isn't going anywhere.

  • The rapid virtualization of formerly in-person events. Not only did conferences go virtual -- so did concerts, almost ALL schools, book tours and more. The impact of this will go beyond the pandemic, as businesses have learned both the benefits -- and pitfalls -- of virtual events.

  • Unprecedented and unfiltered access to celebrities. With tv and movie shoots suspended and cancelled promotional tours, celebrities shared more of their homes, their makeup free selfies and sometimes, their wildly out of touch pandemic "problems".

Twitter: @benyahr

As your iPhone may have alerted you, screen time also went WAY up for most people. Without travel, social plans or commutes, there has simply been more time to be online. There's also been an overwhelming amount of news to keep up with, which most people access online, unlike the past when we relied on the evening news on broadcast tv.


Here are some interesting stats on our internet usage this year (source).


  • 29.7% of survey respondents were using social media 1-2 hours additional hours per day. An additional 38% were using social media an 2+ additional hours a day.

  • Daily average in-home data usage has increased by 38% (hope you have an unlimited data plan!)

  • 28% of parents reported 4-5 hours of daily screen time for their kids. 42% reported 6+ hours of daily screen time during the pandemic.


So much internet, so MUCH time. Here's to hoping for 2020 travel, the end of this pandemic and a decrease in screen time for those of us who want it!