2021 was a year for social media to thrive – so many people started on January 1 pretty much stuck inside their home because of the ongoing COVID pandemic, so you had the perfect setting to spend hours and hours enjoying great content and maybe even making some of your own. 

Instagram, and social media in general in 2021, was something unique compared to previous years. Several trends popped up on Instagram, including many favorites. The addition of Reels was a hit and spread like wildfire. Senior Clayton Dexter said, “I use reels a lot, they are very entertaining to watch, it was like an alternative to tiktok.” Another well known, and still trending trend, are food/cooking tutorials. For the first half of the year, many people were forced to stay indoors, so many good cooks showed us their skills. “I enjoyed the rise of cooking trends. I find it really interesting how a lot of different people can showcase their talents in their own unique style.” said Junior Jack Blaser. Not only are trends going around, but many trolls are too.

Students across the US have been creating multiple anonymous school-based accounts on Instagram dedicated to making funny posts about their school and what happens in it. “I feel like they’re correctly, and incorrectly, propagandizing our school.” said Sophomore Zoltan Eadie of the popular (between 100-300 follows in this 500 person school)ahs.pda, ahs.bad.parking, ahs_posture_, and ahs_snoozers accounts.

Instagram changed noticeably this year, and from what we could tell not only Instagram is changing, but all of social media is.

YouTube has also had its fair share of trends and changes to the platform. In fact, we even saw the dislike button essentially removed from videos. Along with what can be expected every year, there were common trends following what had been becoming popular across all social media, like the large spike in Squid Game related content after the Netflix shows success became apparent. One of the platform’s biggest creators, Mr. Beast, did his own 3.5 million dollar recreation in a 25 minute video. He later did a collaboration project with inventor Mark Rober titled Team Seas. They emphasized a movement to remove large amounts of trash from the ocean, even reaching out to many other YouTubers to help with promotion. 2021 also saw its fair share of gaming content, with games rising to popularity like Among Us. No matter what niche of YouTube you’re in, YouTube has an abundance of new content for you, which did its best to make 2021 a little bit easier.

Tik Tok
In this year of 2021, we can see a shift in the content Tik Tok is giving us. Back in 2020, we saw how heavily tik tok creators influenced the lives of people around us with Tiktokers like Charlie D’Amelio seen almost everywhere online and eventually out to other platforms, even mainstream TV commercials.

In 2021, there have been more community wide trends. For example, the notorious trend that violently caught on throughout American schools, devious licks. Kids were stealing school supplies causing thousands of dollars in damage. It was literally trendy to commit criminal offenses for a few weeks.

A quick Google search in January 2022 brings up the usual compilations of TikToks and, like with all trends, the different versions and parodies that come along with Tiktok trends.

The comment sections were especially violent this year as well with accounts like Colgate (yes the toothpaste brand) starting fights down there.

While a platform like Reddit has many facets, the one we’ll be focusing on is humor. A growing number of users are enjoying “distressing” memes in 2021. This niche group differs from “edgy” humor in that it doesn’t rely on making fun of others or groups of people, but rather uses scenarios and context that makes it seem as if the creator or viewer of the meme is in considerable danger or otherwise unwell. “I really like those memes, I think it’s really creative and stuff,” says sophomore Wyatt Cingle.


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