The biggest social trends of 2022

From minimalism to the 5-9 routine, we take a look back at this year’s top trends

By Nana Akosua Frimpong

Friday, 23rd of December 2022

As 2022 comes to an end, THE FIFTH is looking back on some of the top trends that took over our social channels this year. 

We’ve seen more self-expression across platforms, the strength in online communities and have been endlessly inspired by the content being created. 

From shunning aspirational content with the rise of BeReal to creators reading the room and pivoting their content in response to the cost of living crisis, we wanted to give you a round up of some of the biggest trends we’ve seen take place on social:

Bobby Hobert

Minimalist and Maximalist Aesthetic 

This year, we saw creators such as Bobby Hobert show us the benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle. From decluttering and using only things that serve a purpose to de-stressing and putting your mental health first, we’ve loved watching and learning about ways in which we can all make small changes and adopt a more minimalist lifestyle. 

The Scandi-like fashion and lifestyle were adopted by many as we leaned into living a much slower, more attainable and sustainable lifestyle. Read our previous Trendsetters piece where we wrote about how Scandinavian style has become the fashion crowd’s most coveted aesthetic.

Like with anything on the internet, trends can often change and as we entered the colder months, we were introduced to the maximalist lifestyle. 

Maximalism involves embracing both quantity and quality. Layering and extravagance is a great way to express individuality and uniqueness and creator Sara Campz shows us exactly how to embrace being a maximalist. 

In the battle of minimalism and maximalism, which are you? 

Music and Dancing on TikTok 

TikTok keeps dominating the download charts and has become the platform in which up-and-coming artists are born. This year alone we saw Pink Pantheress soar through the charts after her discovery on TikTok. It has also become the platform for artists to preview their latest single and unexpectedly, it is now a tool for artists and music labels alike to discover new music. 

Just like the music we discover on the platform, TikTok has also become a discovery platform for dancers. Most of the time, when a song takes off on the platform, there is usually a dance challenge attached to it. 

We have seen the likes of Diversity’s Perri Keily create and take part in many dance challenges and his recent TikTok saw him dancing to a DJ remix of Coi Leroy’s latest single ‘Players’. We’ll have also seen the famous dancing duo Brooke and Jessie dominating our For You pages with their viral routines for songs such as Louis Theroux’s ‘jiggle jiggle’ or Meghan Trainor’s ‘Made you look’. Read more about Brooke and Jessie and the guide to getting your song TikTok viral in our Trendsetter piece

Twitch diversifies

Twitch as a platform is known for its live streaming services that are focused on video game live streaming and Esports competitions. This year, however, the app has seemingly grown and with that has been introduced to new audiences. 

Now, Twitch is no longer known as the gaming platform. Instead, it’s the platform where everyone and anyone can live stream their interests, whether it be cooking, baking and/or cultural commentary, you will find your audience on the growing platform. After all, ‘just chatting’ is one of the most popular categories on Twitch. 

Want to know more about how Twitch is diversifying, have a read on how French content creators used the platform to raise money for a great cause in a Trendsetters post here

Alicia Lartey

Clean and cold girl aesthetic 

From the clean girl aesthetic to the cold girl make-up look, this year we saw different beauty and fashion trends emerge as an ode to the early 2000s.

Many discussions have been had about the authenticity of some of the emerging trends, questioning their inclusivity and overall branding. Creator Alicia Lartey, for example, challenged the brown lip liner ‘trend’ on TikTok, taking to Refinery29 to write about why the ‘brownie glazed lip’ “doesn’t sit right with her”. 

Despite some controversies, there have been a few emerging trends that have encapsulated all. We saw #coastalgrandma gain over 269.6 million views, with creators such as Rachel Speed showing us how they style the trend.

Quiet Quitting vs 5-9 routine

This year, we were introduced to #quietquitting – a term encouraging people to renounce hustle culture and make more time for themselves. Many discussions were had to uncover the true meaning of the term and why it was so important amongst Gen Zers. Learn more on the topic in our Trendsetters piece

The topic of quiet quitting then birthed the 9-5 and 5-9 routine. With over 7 million views, we saw people sharing their post-work routine with the hashtag #my5to9. This trend looked to encourage people to take time for themselves after a long day’s work. On the surface, the trend is considered to be healthy as it promotes selfcare, however it also seems to be promoting hyperproductivity – encouraging you to be productive in your downtime. 

It is clear that Gen Zers are all looking to find ways to reclaim their power and encourage mental stability and despite some fall back, it is encouraging to see the future generation promoting mental health.

Cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis has been a prevalent issue around the world this year and many discussions have been happening around influencer culture and their seemingly cash-rich lifestyles.

We have, however, also seen some creators pivot their content to be more in line with their audiences’ growing financial concerns. Creators have used their financial expertise to help their audience during this difficult time and, if you would like to see a more extensive list of creators sharing their best financial advice, head over to our Trendsetters piece highlighting creators using their platform for good in a time of need. 

The authentic app of the year: BeReal

BeReal was the surprise app of 2022. 

In the past, we’ve come across new apps looking to join the likes of TikTok and Instagram in ranking but every year a few fall short. In the peak of the pandemic, for example, we had Clubhouse and House Party – both created to keep us all engaged, entertained and connected. Sadly, we saw both apps fall through the cracks as we slowly returned to normality.

This year, with the conversation around Instagram changing and TikTok practically taking over our lives, we were introduced to BeReal. The app is about being in the moment and encourages users to be their real selves (read our Trendsetters post here). Many flocked to BeReal, making it a success and a clear competitor.

Cementing its status as a trend setter, in the last few months of 2022 we have seen TikTok introduce TikTok Now – a similar concept where users share a daily photo or video of themselves. Instagram is also introducing their own candid feature Dual which allows you to take a photo or video using both the front and back cameras simultaneously. 

As always, social media was anything but boring and this year we witnessed new and exciting trends taking place that encouraged more and more of us to get involved. As we look to 2023, we’re excited to see where trends go next – and we’ll be here to keep you updated and at the forefront every step of the way.