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7 trends that shaped TikTok in 2020

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Like many aspects of culture this year, 2020’s TikTok trends were shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Most of the larger trends that dominated TikTok may not have taken off if not for social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home mandates. At the same time trends were also shaped by the historic events that took place this year, like the Black Lives Matter movement and the seemingly eternal presidential election.

Here are the trends that defined TikTok this year.

1. Roller skating

Roller skating has been making a comeback for years, but the sport exploded in popularity thanks to TikToks that mesmerized viewers with graceful interpretations of already viral dance trends. With COVID-19 shutting down so much of the world, roller skating provided a safe way to stay active. The trend has been so immensely popular this year, roller skates are nearly impossible to buy as brands struggle to keep them stocked. 

2. “Alt” TikTok 

While TikTok gained notoriety for its viral dance trends, it was only a matter of time before the platform algorithmically divided its users into different “sides” of the app. Users began calling themselves “alt” or “deep” TikTok users, versus “straight” TikTok users. Rather than seeing content about mainstream trends, “Alt Tiktok” users found themselves seeing more surreal content. Much like the “hipster” and “fandom” factions of Tumblr, “Alt TikTok” users found some sense of pride in not being part of the mainstream culture. 

3. The Black Lives Matter movement

The Black Lives Matter movement is not a trend or meme, but the movement’s objectives shaped TikTok’s content this year. From using TikTok to share videos of protests against police brutality to calling for greater visibility and recognition for Black creators, the Black Lives Matter movement inspired every aspect of internet culture to push for racial equality. 

4. Crafting

Everyone and their mother got into DIY crafting projects during quarantine, and used TikTok to share it. Resin art, thrift flips, and other crafting projects dominated the For You Page. Ambitious TikTok users also recreated Harry Styles’ patchwork sweater from scratch, inspiring the original designer to release the knitting pattern. When stuck inside, what better way to spend your time than furiously crafting? 

7 trends that shaped TikTok in 2020

5. The 2020 election 

Like nearly every other aspect of internet culture, the 2020 U.S. election permeated TikTok. Creators stressed about voting, made the case to abolish the electoral college, and thirsted after political analysts. One TikTok user even reimagined each state as anime characters banding together to defeat Donald Trump. No matter where you are in the world, it was pretty much impossible to avoid TikTok videos about the presidential election. 

7 trends that shaped TikTok in 2020

6. Learning that one very confusing dance move

Some refer to it as twerking, and others describe it as throwing it back. Many TikTok users call it the “booty shake” because there really is no better way to describe it. No matter what you call it, the move has eluded TikTok users who just can’t seem to move their body that way, and sparked an even larger trend of trying to learn how to do it. Don’t worry  — there are plenty of tutorials online. 

7 trends that shaped TikTok in 2020

7. Shaming influencers for not social distancing

Influencers and celebrities have faced both valid and uncalled for criticism in the past, but many fans were disillusioned by their favorites this year for continuing to party. From not wearing masks while out to socializing despite health officials’ pleas to avoid doing so, former followers started demanding that influencers take accountability for their actions with greater force than in previous years. 

2021 is sure to bring even more bizarre TikTok content. 

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