Malaysians came to Twitter to find connectivity and togetherness in a year like no other
Whether it’s working from home, learning remotely, or social distancing, everybody’s life has changed in 2020 and people have looked for comfort wherever they could find it. People come to Twitter for a sense of connectivity, togetherness, and encouragement; and in 2020, this was more true than ever. People used Twitter to encourage others to stay safe, or to uplift others and help them make it through isolation; they also used Twitter to find ways to connect while physically distanced, whether it was about TV shows, video games, or test results.
Malaysians turned to Twitter for the conversations and trends to keep going through 2020. But beyond just getting by, we still enjoyed the lighter parts of life. The BTS ARMY continued to dominate and enjoy new music (#BTS), and football fans rejoiced in the return of the UEFA Champions League (#UCL) after an extended break.
Be it to stay updated on global events and participate in social movements, or to spread joy and have fun, Twitter has truly been the place for Malaysians to come together. As the end of 2020 approaches, relive the moments that made you laugh, touch your heart, shed a tear, and most importantly, remind you that we’re all in this together.
Most Engaged Tweets in Malaysia
Note: We only feature one Tweet per account and we don’t consider Tweets that offer reward in exchange for followers or Retweets.
1. Accepting apologies
In an unprecedented year, everyone may make a mistake or two – but what people really pay attention to is when mistakes are owned up to. Fizi, from hit childrens’ show Upin and Ipin, said something offensive in a show. Broadcaster Les’ Copaque (@lescopaque) created a video of Fizi issuing a heartfelt apology, and shared it on Twitter. Upin and Ipin fans loved it, and their reactions varied – some replied to comfort Fizi, others Retweeted to spread Fizi’s message and his apology, and others simply Liked the Tweet to show their appreciation. In total, this was the most Retweeted and Liked Tweet of the year, and Malaysians appreciated it.
Fizi dah minta maaf 🙏
Upin dan Ipin pun dah maafkan 🥰 pic.twitter.com/yWOKJnpYNb
— Les' Copaque (@lescopaque) June 2, 2020
2. Appreciating thoughtful leaders
This year, leaders felt just as much change as everyone else did, making it harder for them to inspire and lead. In this climate, people appreciated gestures both big and small from their leaders. Iman’s (@imancullen_) sister wrote a note of appreciation to Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah and sent him a friendship bracelet – but what happened next was special. Dr. Hisham gave the bracelet to his granddaughter and sent a lengthy reply to Iman’s sister, thanking her for her kind wishes and encouraging her to stay strong. Iman shared the correspondence on Twitter, and the appreciation for Dr. Hisham’s leadership was universal.
So my lil sister wrote a letter for Dr Hisham and sent it to his office. Then today got a whatsapp message with this pic of the official surat, Dr Hisham punya reply to my lil sis. He is so humble and I respect him a lot with what his contributions for our country. pic.twitter.com/IfXMRNaIDH
— iman (@imancullen_) April 17, 2020
3. Hearing straight from the experts
Malaysians also came to Twitter to get the latest news on the ever-evolving situation, including to hear straight from their leaders and official organisations. Dr. Hisham (@DGHisham) appears again here; and, Malaysians were interested in what he had to say, as well as in hearing and seeing the latest information that they needed to know. Dr. Hisham’s admonishment of Malaysians for not following official guidance was widely Retweeted as Malaysians helped to spread his words to others.
Sudah terang lagi bersuluh setiap hari Kementerian Kesihatan mengingatkan rakyat Malaysia untuk patuh kepada SOP untuk penjarakan selamat sekurang-kurangnya 1 meter, memakai pelitup separuh muka dan kerap cuci tangan. Sedih bila melihat keadaan begini tiada kawalan kendiri.
— Noor Hisham Abdullah (@DGHisham) July 28, 2020
Other popular Tweets in Malaysia
A common theme this year was Malaysians looking for ways to amuse themselves, in place of going out or being able to do their regular activities. Many of the Tweets with high engagements in Malaysia reflected this, as people engaged with and shared things that helped them to pass the time.
Even the Prime Minister was aware of Malaysians finding new ways to spend their time, as evidenced by this Tweet that was among the most Retweeted. @pzullicious simply captured part of one of PM Muhyiddin’s addresses regarding the latest developments and shared it via Twitter, leading to appreciation from some, and amusement from all.
Habis la PM tahu apa korang buat kat rumah pic.twitter.com/ImA5WR4XUO
— 🌕 (@pzullicious) April 6, 2020
But sometimes, simple conversations and interactions were all it took for Malaysians to feel like things were back to normal. @seketulakasah posted a video Tweet of a simple conversation between a child and his uncle that he found funny, and Malaysian Twitter agreed heartily. During a year like 2020, anything that could help with laughs or feeling connected was welcome.
bodolah member aku game budak ni 😭😭😭🤣👆🏼 pic.twitter.com/OPQeab2Ue8
— Kasyehhhh ➐ (@seketulakasah) February 26, 2020
In fact, something that helped Malaysians to pass the time became the most Quote Tweeted of the year. Malaysian artist @alizulfaqqar designed a simple GIF, intended as a GIF game. By clicking the GIF to start the animation, then clicking it again to stop the animation, “players” could find out what they were awarded a first-place trophy for, then Quote the Tweet to share their results. Many Malaysians appreciated this quick and fun way to engage on Twitter, and spread the GIF game around to others to play and share. @alizulfaqqar created a number of GIF games this year, all of which ended up among the most Quote Tweeted Tweets in Malaysia this year, offering more and more ways to help get through 2020.
Tahniah! Kamu semua juara! pic.twitter.com/58CMpSIgUz
— M (@alizulfaqqar) March 21, 2020
Most Tweeted about hashtags in Malaysia
Unsurprisingly, #covid19 is Malaysia’s top hashtag has many turned to Twitter for timely updates on developments and to share their thoughts on the situation. #covid19 (and other variations on it) was Tweeted nearly 400 million times globally, and it also changed the way we talked about so many other topics. From stating the simple fact of what affected everything this year (#covid19) to the various ways that Malaysians dealt with the new normal as they shifted over time (#dudukrumah, #kitajagakita, and #jomkita), hashtags reflected what Malaysians were thinking about and how they were coping with everything going on. The most Tweeted hashtags also gave a snapshot into how Malaysians were spending their time, with everything from #acnh to sharing their #spm2019 results.
When we talk about 2020, it’s impossible not to mention this hashtag. In this new normal, Malaysians used Twitter to get the latest updates, and to hear straight from government accounts and their elected officials.
Staying home meant many things in the context of this hashtag. At first, #dudukrumah was more instructive, and something you told others to encourage them to stay home. Then, as more time passed, and Malaysians looked for ways to spend their time at home, #dudukrumah also was used for all kinds of things, from sharing your latest home-cooked creation, to memes and videos that offer some relief.
Originally started in part by author Hanna Alkaf to help make it easier for people to donate or volunteer their services during the Movement Control Order, this hashtag makes it easy for Malaysians to look out for one another and offer their help – or, if they’re in need of help, to extend a call for it or find services that fit what they’re looking for.
The sequel season to this popular show premiered during MCO, and with an audience primed for content, the reception was strong on Twitter. People gathered to share their reactions to the story as it unfolded, commiserate about their favourite parts, and voice their support for the show.
While this hashtag is popular every year, in 2020, the importance of new profile pics reached new heights. In these times of social distancing, profile pics are the new way to make strong first impressions. And with people using online shopping as one of the ways to get through MCO, what better use of new clothes than to help garner some Likes and Retweets?
Most Tweeted about Entertainment Accounts in Malaysia
Malaysians weren’t just limited to #7harimencintaiku2 and other homegrown content to help them get through the year. As the most Tweeted about entertainment accounts in Malaysia show, Malaysians turned to all corners of the world to find new things to listen to and watch in 2020. From local stars like Neelofa (@neelofa) to Malaysians that have taken their talents global like Yuna (@yunamusic), people were able to turn to many different countries to get their fill of entertainment. These countries were as far-flung as India (@actorvijay), Thailand (@msuppasit, @gulfkanawut, and @winmetawin), of course, the US (@arianagrande, @justinbieber).
Most Tweeted about K-Pop Groups in Malaysia
While most other entertainment felt the effects of social distancing, moving everything online appears to only have made Malaysia’s K-Pop fans stronger. This year, there was lots for them to connect about on Twitter. For fans of the top groups, there were comebacks, awards show appearances, online concerts, and much much more for them to enjoy. For fans of BTS (@BTS_twt), fans were able to live Tweet online events like #bangbangcon, as well as the many US awards and talk show appearances, and reminisce in the days that followed while discussing with their fellow ARMY on Twitter. Similarly, EXO (@weareoneexo) gave their fans multiple projects to enjoy this year, while CARATS, fans of SEVENTEEN (@pledis_17) were about to use Twitter to connect not just about SEVENTEEN’s new music, but also to discuss their favourite parts of the group’s new feature-length documentary.
Most Tweeted about Sports Accounts in Malaysia
Even though many sports went on pause and looked a bit different when they returned, there were 2 billion Tweets globally about sports. Football continued to lead sports fans’ attention in Malaysia, but with some interesting wrinkles this year. While the top three EPL clubs stayed the same (@manutd, @lfc, and @chelseafc), fans looking for sports content to fill their free time, given the adjusted 2020 and 2021 seasons, turned to fan accounts Troll Football (@trollfootball) and Rex Chapman (@rexchapman). With these two accounts providing a steady supply of jokes and memes, as well as older content to reminisce about, sports fans were well-equipped to deal with any delays in play.
Most Tweeted about emojis in Malaysia
Helping people to express themselves, emojis have always been a great complement to Tweets. The emojis that Malaysians most Tweeted about in 2020 showed that even though everything has changed, Malaysians still laughed, loved, and smiled on Twitter. Just as in any other year, some emojis showed that Malaysians were facing challenges – whether sad, dazed, or weary – but at the end of the day, happiness and laughter took the top spot.
“This year, people have used Twitter not just to keep up with what’s happening around the world, but to maintain connections with one another despite being apart. The challenging circumstances of 2020 has highlighted Twitter’s role in driving real-time conversations and facilitating the interactions that matter as Malaysians bonded over heartwarming and key moments of the year. As we enter 2021, it’s clear that Twitter is the only place for the buzziest, funniest, most interesting, and most relevant culture moments, and we expect this to continue moving forward,” said Arvinder Gujral, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, at Twitter.
Join the #ThisHappened2020 conversation on Twitter using any of the hashtags listed below and you’ll see a fun emoji in your Tweet. Also check out our Twitter accounts around the world which will spotlight the top Twitter moments from the year.