We’re only in February and it already feels like 2020 has lasted years. January saw the continuation of the exhausting impeachment saga in the US. The coronavirus scared (and continues to scare) us all with its soaring numbers. Award show coverage has birthed endless opinion pieces on racism, misogyny, celebrities’ political relevance, and whether awards even matter.
Nonetheless, if you manage to see past the big headlines, you’ll find that certain new trends are already starting to take hold. 2020 will perhaps be defined by these trends more than by ephemeral political struggles and sensationalist headlines.
2020’s Top Trends
Have you been able to keep track of the trends so far? Here’s what you can expect to notice taking hold of cultural discourse in 2020.
Social media to split generations
No matter how you want to spin it, there’s no denying that social media has been one of the biggest forces of the twenty-first century. Initially, it was seen as a folly of the younger generations, but soon everyone began to use it, including seniors and businesses. However, while social media seemed like it had the potential to bridge generation gaps, in 2020 it’s driving generations further apart.
Until recently, the idea that “old people” used Facebook while everyone else had moved on was said mostly tongue-in-cheek. A lot of young people used Facebook and a lot of older people used Instagram, if in very different ways. That’s no longer the case. Today, social media is not only splitting boomers from younger generations, but it’s even splitting the younger generations themselves.
Millennials have been disillusioned with Facebook for a while now, but even they cannot keep up with the pace of online change. Snapchat might seem new to you but it has already become a relic for Gen Z, as TikTok has become their new headquarters. If you’ve ever used the app, you’ll be used to seeing fresh-faced teenagers and young adults doing dance challenges, earning social clout, and generating their own pop culture.
The effect of this split is not just aesthetic. On the contrary, there is so much LGBTQ representation on TikTok you’ll find it hard to believe that the LGBTQ community is still a minority. The different platforms generate and represent different generational attitudes, and in 2020 social media is steadily widening the gap between generations.
Hobby clubs to counter social isolation
Onto a less divisive trend, hobby clubs are growing more popular as 2020 gets going. You can learn about wine clubs, for example, at bestwineclub.com. This trend gives wine lovers access to all the resources they need to become connoisseurs. Wine is delivered to your doorstep when you join, the selections made at the discretion of experts. But more important than the wine tasting itself is the social aspect of it. Exclusive events bring wine lovers together, with a common interest that has nothing to do with politics, religion, or age.
Wine clubs and other hobby clubs are becoming popular for a reason. In 2020, social isolation is more likely than ever. Digital nomads no longer live in one place and have to make new friends whenever they move. The growing base of remote freelancers is causing people to stay home alone rather than meeting co-workers or clients. Political divisiveness is giving individuals more reasons to be wary of others instead of making friends.
Join a wine club and you get an immediate sense of belonging. Join a reading group and you get to connect over deep themes and ideas. Join a writing group and bring out your creative side in a safe space.
Hobby clubs seemed to have become a thing of the past, but in 2020, they’re becoming relevant once again. Social isolation in this day and age is all too real, and people are searching for a way to overcome it.
Streaming to nip it all in the bud
While people are getting ever thirstier for social contact, technology is giving us more reason than ever to stay home. Streaming is the most poignant example in 2020, the year in which Disney+ and Apple TV+ will come into their own. What Netflix set in motion, these services are magnifying.
Disney+ is likely to be the biggest gamechanger. The reason is that it might finally put the first nail in the coffin of cinema-going. Streaming has obviously given people a reason not to go to the cinema. Comedies, for example, no longer get people in seats, with little advantage to seeing the movie on the big screen. Even action films are more than watchable on a quality TV at home (you can tell from Netflix’s investment in the Michael Bay blockbuster 6 Underground).
And so, in an effort to make big bucks at the Box Office, companies like Disney have resorted to big-budget remakes of nostalgia fodder like Aladdin and The Lion King, along with event movies like The Avengers Saga. With Disney+, the biggest entertainment company in the world may no longer need to get people out of their homes. There’s still a long way to go before they stop production on all the remakes, but 2020 may well be the beginning of the end.
Ultimately, 2020’s trends are driven by a need for balance between technological advancement and social isolation. People no longer need to leave their homes as often, and generations no longer communicate with each other. But with a growing loneliness epidemic, we’re all looking for more reasons to get out of the house.