In a new report on usage between March and September, Twitter, which said in July that its user base has grown by 34 percent to 186 million, highlighted some of what ended up being the most popular topics, celebrities and trends during the ongoing pandemic.
Emojis that turned out to be extremely popular on the site include the microbe emoji, usage of which grew more than 1,600 percent as the pandemic “became the center” of conversations, according to the report. Use of the roll of toilet paper emoji also grew by nearly 500 percent, as the early months of the pandemic created a major shortage of the household essential, and the bar of soap emoji also grew by 100 percent.
The mailbox emoji also grew by more than 500 percent as the news cycle erupted with conversation around the U.S. Postal Service and President Trump’s refusal to further fund the essential public service as it expects an unprecedented level of mail-in voting for the November election due to the pandemic. But outside of that emoji, Twitter’s report has no political content or trends, as it focused on more consumer-centric topics like TV, movies and celebrity.
But the increased popularity of hobbies like knitting did show up with a nearly 70 percent increase in use of the ball of yarn emoji, Twitter said. Knitting did not beat out bread baking, which has become nearly synonymous with the early weeks of the pandemic-induced lockdown and was the second most popular food topic on the site. The first most popular was chicken, which Twitter attributed to McDonald’s unveiling its release of spicy chicken nuggets.
Of course, TV was also a popular topic on Twitter over the last several months. “The Last Dance” documentary on Michael Jordan’s championship tenure with the Chicago Bulls was the single most tweeted-about show between March and September. Twitter chalked up part of the docuseries’ popularity to people seeking out “nostalgia on TV.” But a surprising second place goes to “Big Brother Brazil,” which became so popular on Twitter that it beat out Netflix’s “Tiger King” documentary, which surged in popularity in the first weeks of the pandemic lockdown as well, and maintained the number-three spot of most tweeted-about TV shows.
While the pandemic has for months kept people from attending movie theaters, and so caused movie studios to delay the release of planned summer blockbusters, the few movies that were released, almost all by Disney, for paid streaming garnered a lot of tweets. Beyoncé’s visual album “Black Is King,” released only on Disney’s streaming service, was the second most-tweeted movie, and Disney’s release of “Hamilton, The Musical” took the number-five spot, while its new “Mulan” the seventh spot. The number-one movie on Twitter was “Black Panther,” mentions of which surged after the unexpected August death of its star, Chadwick Boseman.
One area of culture that was less hampered was music, as singers, rappers and other artists released new albums and singles essentially as they normally would, with a reliance on streaming.
Keeping with the trend of recent years, K-Pop stars dominated Twitter, with four of the top 15 tweeted-about artists being K-Pop groups. BTS was the most tweeted about in the music category, ahead of Kanye West, who did release one single early this summer, but also riled up social media with his attempts to get onto voter ballots before this year’s primary elections in several states. He was the second most tweeted-about musician while Beyoncé came in third, Drake fourth and rising rapper Megan Thee Stallion fifth. She dominated the music conversation on Twitter with her single “Savage,” featuring Beyoncé. But she was also on the Cardi B single “WAP,” which got its own Twitter emoji, went viral and debuted last month at the top of all music streaming charts.