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10 social media trends that changed the internet in 2022

0.5 selfies, NFTs, Elon Musk, oh my!
By Christianna Silva  on 
BeReal, Meta, and Twitter and all the ways social media changed in 2022.
NFTs, photo dumps, BeReal, and more. Credit: Mashable Illustration / Ian Moore / Meta / Twitter / BeReal / Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty

2022, you flew by. Join Mashable as we look back at everything that's delighted, amazed, or just confused us in 2022.


The year is coming to an end, and one of my favorite ways to reflect on the passage of time is to look at my own social media accounts — the words I've tweeted, the posts I've shared on Instagram, the deranged journal entries I published on Nike Run Club, etc. And each year, I'm forced to acknowledge that as time passes, culture evolves in ways that seem completely irrational but are, of course, typically overcorrections for flaws in our online ecosystem. Think about how folks posted about Facebook in the Before Times and how they do now: Each year, the cyclical nature of the internet reminds us that things change.

We changed the way we post online, where we post online, how often we post online, and the content of our posts, too. Come along with me as I learn from the Ghost of 2022 Social Media Past.

Blurry, hyper-zoomed in pics

Instagram was once a place to share over-edited, glamorized depictions of our daily lives. But as the pandemic spread across the world, that grew tiring. Users who did have extravagant lives were punished for that because, obviously, a pandemic was raging on. Folks started posting blurry photos to their Instagram grid in late 2021, and as 2022 rolled around, it was not only acceptable but encouraged to take a beautiful photo of a tablesape and then zoom in so tightly on something so random that the edges become blurry and tough to decipher. As the owner of a phone that can only be described as a brick with internet access, I appreciate this change in aesthetics.

Photo dumps take their last stand

I have a suspicion that photo dumps are going to go the way of Instagram filters and frames come 2023. We really began overusing them in 2021, and 2022 was certainly no different. But the use is starting to peter out. We'll see was 2023 has in store.

BeReal

The app that promised to change it all grabbed us by our very short attention spans this year. It was technically founded in 2020, but wasn't widely used until 2022. As my colleague Elena Cavender points out, users were sick of Instagram's obsession with monetization, ads, and an algorithm that makes it more difficult to see their friends. BeReal stepped in, claiming to be the actual casual version of Instagram. It was such a hit that Instagram has reportedly considered stealing some of the ideas that make BeReal so beloved

NFTs

This year started off with the launch of an NFT status symbol on Twitter. In January, the social media platform rolled out a feature that lets users who pay for Twitter Blue authenticate their own NFTs and show them off in their profile photos. By September, Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram both completed their NFT rollout across both apps for all users in the U.S. Here's to hoping this is a trend that stays in 2022.

New ways to pay creators 

This year gave us a ton of new ways for users — and platforms — to pay the people that make the platforms what they are. Tumblr launched a tip jar feature which allows users to tip their favorite creators on the platform; YouTube announced new ways for creators to make more money for their content; SnapChat is testing the ability to share ad revenue with creators. And people are listening. Instagram's 2023 trend report showed that nearly two thirds of Gen Z plan to use social media to make money in 2023. 

Social media is the new search engine

Bye bye Google, hello TikTok and Instagram. Nearly 40 percent of young people go to TikTok or Instagram to search instead of Google Maps or Google Search, Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice president in charge of Google Search, told TechCrunch in 2022.

The futile search for an Instagram replacement

Instagram simply isn't doing it for us right now, and Instagram knows it — they're constantly launching new products, pivoting to video, and grasping aimlessly at ways to maintain their grip on young people. But young people have grown tired of Instagram and are constantly searching for a replacement. Enter: BeReal, Glass, Grainery, and even Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Hive Social.

0.5 selfies

Not all changes to social media are due to a deep-seated need for change and escape from the monotony and pain of life. Some trends are just for fun, like 0.5 selfies.

Partiful replaced Facebook 

For years, people hung onto their Facebook accounts for two main reasons: birthday reminders and inviting friends to parties. The former has not found a replacement outside of using a normal calendar, but inviting friends to parties has been completely over-throned by Partiful.

R.I.P. Twitter as we knew it

We had a surprise last minute entry to the trash fire of 2022 social media when Elon Musk "let that sink in" and took over Twitter. Everything about it has been weird and bad.

Mashable Image

Christianna Silva

Senior Culture Reporter

Christianna Silva is a Senior Culture Reporter at Mashable. They write about tech and digital culture, with a focus on Facebook and Instagram. Before joining Mashable, they worked as an editor at NPR and MTV News, a reporter at Teen Vogue and VICE News, and as a stablehand at a mini-horse farm. You can follow them on Twitter @christianna_j.


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