If your digital screentime has skyrocketed during lockdown, you’re not alone. Ever since it became dangerous to gather with loved ones out in the physical world, millions of people around the globe have been forced to do most of their socializing online.
That’d led to strains on friendships. In 2020, Instagram became more politicized than ever before, as celebrities, corporations, and ordinary people alike navigated whether, and what, to post about things like Black Lives Matter during the George Floyd protests.
Posting a casual, day-in-the-life photo to the app has also grown much more fraught, with many users now writing long coronavirus qualifiers in attempts to justify what might be questionable behavior during a pandemic — best illustrated by Kim Kardashian West’s much-memed defense of her extravagant 40th birthday party. Social media has always been a venue for judgment and shame, but disagreements about political stances and what counts as ethical behavior during a pandemic have upped the toxicity to extreme levels.
This was also the year when the term “doomscrolling” gained widespread usage. Mass death and despair resulting from the pandemic, climate disasters, and various states of political chaos have kept many of us glued to our devices for endless hours of terrifying updates — often eroding our mental health in the process.
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