Singapore — 2020 has been a year like none other. While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken up most of the world’s attention, it isn’t the only thing that has gone viral this year (pardon the pun!). We have put together a list of content that has taken social media by storm, garnering millions of views, likes and shares.
It comes as no surprise to anyone that video-sharing social media app TikTok tops the list of 2020’s most popular apps. For those who aren’t in the know, TikTok is an app that allows users to share short video clips of well, absolutely anything, set to the song of your choosing (there are a multitude of songs to use as background audio on TikTok). Users can interact with each other, comment on videos, and join community “challenges” on the platform.
It can be said that TikTok is the app that defied the pandemic, keeping millions of people occupied, entertained and (relatively) sane during the hardest parts of lockdown, forging connections despite global isolation. It is also the platform for most of 2020’s viral content.
TikTok videos of all sorts have flooded the internet all year, but the most viral? With a staggering 530 million plus views (yes, you read that right), it’s this video by overnight TikTok sensation Bella Poarch:
@bellapoarchTo the ? ? ? ##fyp♬ M to the B – Millie B
The short clip shows Poarch lip-syncing to the Millie B song “M to the B” with exaggerated facial expressions and crossed eyes. The American-Filipina has since then risen to fame as one of TikTok’s biggest influencers and continues to focus on lip-syncing videos with coordinated facial moves.
The second most viral TikTok video of 2020 is something else entirely. Apparently, skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac’s song “Dreams” while drinking Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice is a viral combination, because it has since garnered nearly 12 million views. Nathan Apocada, or @420doggface208, changed his life when he filmed this video:
@420doggface208Morning vibe ##420souljahz ##ec ##feelinggood ##h2o ##cloud9 ##happyhippie ##worldpeace ##king ##peaceup ##merch ##tacos ##waterislife ##high ##morning ##710 ##cloud9♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac
Apocada’s video launched him into stardom overnight. Thanks to his video going viral, “Dreams” (released in 1977) was back on Billboard’s Top 10 Streaming Songs chart, and Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry sold out in stores everywhere. Ocean Spray was so grateful for the overwhelming publicity they received that they gifted Apocada with a 2020 Nissan Frontier!
TikTok dances and songs
No doubt the best thing—if you like to move and groove—to come out of the popular app are the dance challenges that have taken the world by storm. 2020 on TikTok has been all about unleashing your inner diva, and there has been a lot of dancing. Dance challenges have become all the rage, with users showing off their moves as they dance to popular songs. The more exaggerated the moves, the more literal the interpretation, the better!
When 17-year-old Haley Sharpe created her own choreograph for Doja Cat’s song “Say So”, it exploded all over TikTok. Her dance moves were copied all over the platform and even helped Doja’s song skyrocket to new heights of fame, both on TikTok and in the music charts. The music artist generously acknowledged Sharpe’s influence by inviting her to perform the dance routine in the official music video for the song, all the while roller skating at a disco rink, ’70s style.
@yodelinghaleyHERE IT IS!! the full say so dance??♬ say so by doja cat – haley sharpe
Artist Kesha’s song “Cannibal” has become TikTok gold, too. With moves originally created by TikTok user Briana Hantsch, the dance has become a hit sensation on the video-sharing app, with Kesha herself doing the dance moves alongside TikTok super-influencer Charli D’Amelio.
— kesha (@KeshaRose) February 26, 2020
TikTok hasn’t just been fun for people stuck at home; artists everywhere have the video-sharing platform and its users to thank for giving new life to their songs.
TikTok food trends
Besides dance-and-song fads and popularising random doodads, food features largely on the video-sharing platform. Who isn’t a foodie in their own right anyway? TikTok introduced a new trend that really took off—viral baking.
When people found themselves at home thanks to the pandemic, there was naturally a lot of baking and cooking going on. But TikTok to it to new, viral heights, and suddenly everyone connected with their inner home baker.
The banana bread craze that took TikTok by storm can be credited to chef and author Shereen Pavlides (@cookingwithshereen), whose from-scratch banana bread video in March was viewed by more than 24.8 million TikTokers and “hearted” by more than 4 million.
Seeing meat falling off the bone is undoubtedly a satisfying experience, and millions of people on TikTok agree. In February of this year, TikToker @bbqfreedom served up an ah-ma-zing video of the tenderest, most delicious slab of barbecued meat you have ever seen in your life, and the best part? Meat cleanly falling off a huge bit chunk of bone. It’s decadent, it’s addictive, and it’s mesmerising—no wonder it’s garnered over 43 million views. Yup, it’s that good. Check it out—you can’t un-see it, and you don’t want to.
Memes, one of social media’s favourite modes of expression, has continued to live long and prosper throughout 2020, with people getting more creative, inventive and sarcastic than ever.
The “My plans – 2020” meme is something everyone can relate to, and it’s precisely for that reason that it went so viral, so quickly—
my plans 2020 pic.twitter.com/ggOeslPhUl
— Horror Flicks ? (@HorrorFlickss) May 18, 2020
My plans 2020 pic.twitter.com/sjAYcNbUDn
— mad men pics (@madmenpics) May 18, 2020
For #MusMeme day, we celebrate what art and memes have in common — how they can capture what we’re all really feeling…
My plans 2020 pic.twitter.com/mYoFSg10AS
— Art UK (@artukdotorg) December 9, 2020