It’s little wonder that the coronavirus pandemic has dominated discussion on Twitter this year.
But it’s testament to the human spirit that that the public has honed in on the shining examples of kindness and bravery in the face of unspeakable suffering and grief.
We’ve applauded our beleaguered NHS workers, we’ve cheered as footballer Marcus Rashford coordinated a mass effort to feed hungry children during half term and we’ve grieved for the loss of Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman.
Here is a look at the most popular tweets and topics in the UK in 2020.
Top retweeted tweets of 2020
The world was left stunned at the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who passed away at the age of 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer.
As the pandemic unfolded, causing immeasurable strain to an already stretched NHS, one medic mused whether it was a good time to introduce free car parking for staff.
Within days of this tweet, an initiative from YourParkingSpace.co.uk was offering free parking at more than 900 car parks, with some very close to car parks.
Matching this, the government awarded free parking with immediate effect for all frontline staff, social care workers and health service volunteers for the duration of the outbreak.
Manchester United star Marcus Rashford led a sterling campaign against child food poverty this year, winning widespread praise and being made an MBE for his ongoing efforts to ensure no child goes hungry. His work resulted in the government backtracking to announce free meals would be provided to disadvantaged children over the Christmas holidays.
George Floyd was arrested after he allegedly tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a store in Minneapolis. The 46-year-old was filmed pleading for air as a white police officer knelt on his neck. His death sparked global protests.
Marcus Rashford hailed the power that people possess “when they come together” after launching his passionate campaign to help feed vulnerable children.
Little Britain comedian Matt Lucas gave his own take on Boris Johnson’s address to the nation as he addressed easing the restrictions for lockdown.
Johnson faced calls for clarity after his speech and Lucas, 46, added to those voices by posting a video on Twitter of himself impersonating the PM.
“So we are saying ’Don’t go to work, go to work, don’t take public transport, go to work, don’t go to work, stay indoors, if you can work from home go to work, don’t go to work, go outside, don’t go outside and then we will or won’t do something or other,” he said.
A tweet featuring NHS workers dancing to Olly Murs went viral after the singer shared it on social media, and it gained even more traction when it was posted by NHS Million.
Sandra Roberts and her colleague Lyn Roberts posted the frontline theatre team at Basildon Hospital boogying to Dance With Me Tonight.
One of the biggest side-effects of lockdown has become the rise in domestic abuse, with many survivors finding themselves locked in their homes with their abusers.
This advert from West Mercia Women’s Aid spread awareness of how to call for help, even if they are unable to speak in the presence of their abusers, reminding them: You are not alone.
No celebrities or meaningful messages in this entry. Just a sock puppet masquerading as Pac-Man and eating cars. Because you’ve got to do something to pass the time in quarantine.
A tenant claiming to be being “forced out” of his home took revenge on his letting agent by producing a sarcastic virtual tour of the property, pointing out various faults along the way.
Top 5 most ‘liked’ tweets
The death of Chadwick Boseman is announced.
Marcus Rashford shares his happiness over community spirit in 2020.
Macauley Culkin discusses his age.
Andy Milonakis jokes about astronauts choosing to leave Earth during lockdown.
The NHS UK account responds to the public clapping for key workers on their doorsteps. Here’s our interview with the woman who started it.