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Noelle Villaseñor

Social media developments in 2021 created unique trends over the course of the year.

Best of 2021: Trends

Instagram’s removal of the like count

Beginning in November 2021, the social media platform, Instagram, incorporated the ability to conceal the amount of likes on a user’s post. This update has been in the works since 2019, taking effect sitewide this past year. The goal was to “depressurize” the app, making it a safer space for the younger generations, who have a competitive tendency to compare likes to their peers. The company has still left the option open for users to view counts, granting the liberty of seeing what is trending or favored at the moment. Though Instagram is the first to alter their apps for the sake of their audience’s mental health, other platforms such as Facebook or TikTok might as well follow this update. 

 

Rise of live streaming

Rising since the outbreak of COVID-19, live streaming has become greatly utilized by all types of social media influencers. Twitch, the top leading platform for streaming, grew by 720,000 users over the duration of 2021. Through the use of gaming and entertainment streaming, influencers and their followers have been able to maintain their connection. The use of live streaming has been increasing since the COVID-19 lockdown, and it does not show any signs of decline. Top streamers such as Ninja and xQc are upholding the Twitch community and assisting its exponential growth. 

 

Marketplaces added onto social media apps 

The upsurge of advertisements in social media is undeniable, now with the inclusion of advertising having its own marketplace. Placed among Instagram stories and posts, there are links guiding users to  shops curated for them, luring consumers to help the platform create more revenue. These advertisement methods have spread to other apps such as TikTok and Snapchat, and some follow trends to conceal their purpose. Sister medias, Instagram and Facebook, have dedicated shopping sections of their app to ease online shopping into regular app visits. Facebook has included a marketplace, becoming a mix of Etsy and eBay, with the option of remaining in the user’s community. Throughout all platforms, the use of advertisement and incorporation of online shopping is utilized to increase profits from casual media use. 

 

Change in video editing style

Video editing has been a prominent art form on apps such as Instagram and TikTok for many years, after gaining popularity on Vine in the mid-2010s. Evolving from advanced effects and transitions in previous years, editing styles shifted in 2021 to center around clean cuts, bright coloring and minimal effects. The emergence of this new editing style allowed for more focus on a video’s subject matter, and it could be employed in any type of video, from cooking tutorials to pop culture edits. See examples by @chipsinasandwich on TikTok and @ephourias on Instagram here.

 

“Casual Instagram” 

In 2021, many Instagram users took advantage of the app’s multiple-photo selection feature by posting a batch of random, unedited pictures to their feed. Deemed “casual Instagram,” this trend made Instagram a more comfortable platform and relieved some of the pressure caused by maintaining a specific theme on one’s profile. By posting many photos at once, or a “photo dump,” people were able to seal more memories onto their accounts within a single post. This trend ultimately allowed people to create visual souvenirs—made more personal by the unedited nature of the photos—to share with their social media followers. 

What do you think?