According to Meltwater, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, new social media platforms have been welcomed with open arms by online users, in the search for new and meaningful ways to connect differently to the usual social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. 

Although Telegram, Omegle and Clubhouse existed long before the pandemic, 2020 saw these platforms boom among Gen Z and Millennials across the globe. Meltwater tracked and analysed social media data to see how these new social networks are outshining the old in the age of uncertainty. 


Online Users Open To New Social Networks
Global Social Volume (blue) vs Social Reach (green) on ‘Telegram’ Social Media Mentions between 1 January 2020 and 12 January 2020.

Telegram is also not a stranger to the online world, as the app has been around since 2013. However, after WhatsApp recently made the announcement on 4 January 2021 regarding its new privacy policy, many people took to social media to share how they would consider switching to Telegram instead. 

Since the start of January 2020, there have been over one million social media mentions on ‘Telegram’, and these mentions have been increasing, with the most significant increase occurring on 4 January 2020. 

On this day, the social volume of ‘Telegram’ mentions increased by 34% and the social reach increased by 39%. This was the day that WhatsApp announced their policy changes, and the data recorded more than 72,000 global social ‘Telegram’ mentions, which had a global social reach of 1.9 billion people. 

WhatsApp, on the other hand, has been mentioned over three million times on social media, in relation to its new privacy policy. These mentions saw an increase on 4 January 2020, where the data recorded more than 250,000 social media mentions on the day. As the graph above indicates, these mentions on WhatsApp had some impact on the ‘Telegram’ mentions recorded on the same day. 

While 79.1% of all ‘Telegram’ mentions were neutral in sentiment, this was primarily due to natural language processing attributing a neutral sentiment score to social media mentions in different languages and using a number of emojis. However, from what the data could provide a sentiment analysis on, 10.6% of online users feel positive towards ‘Telegram’ while 10.3% of online users feel negative. 

Those who like ‘Telegram’ prefer it for its enhanced security, as well as having surpassed 500 million active users on the platform. The negative sentiment is attributed to mentions surrounding tech giant, Apple, potentially muting the app on their devices, as well as the data picking up on ‘Telegram’ mentions that included the keywords ‘WhatsApp’, ‘hate’, ‘leaving’ or ‘migrating’. 


Global Social Volume (blue) vs Social Reach (green) on ‘Clubhouse’ Social Media Mentions between 12 January 2020 and January 2021.

Launched in 2016, Clubhouse is a new social networking platform that is based on voice, and allows users from around the world to come together to talk, listen and learn from one another in real-time.

In contrast to both social volume and social reach for Omegle, mentions on ‘Clubhouse’ have garnered a consistent social reach of over one billion people worldwide since April 2020, with the highest global reach being just under three billion people in August 2020. During this time, the data recorded 165,000 social media mentions on ‘Clubhouse’, as the app began to gain popularity among high profile individuals. 

By December 2020, the data recorded the highest number of ‘Clubhouse’ mentions – 221,000 – as most online users had become familiar with the app and were now taking a bigger interest in how the social networking platform worked. 

The majority of ‘Clubhouse’ social media mentions came from the USA (26.2%), followed by the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Nigeria and India, making these the top five countries to be mentioning the app the most on social media.

Overall, mentions on ‘Clubhouse’ from the USA have been related to sharing. High profile celebrities or influencers were hosting discussions on various rooms and social media was used to either advertise the room or encourage people to get invites to join discussions. The data also showed similar tweets from users in the UK doing the same.

In Canada, most users are still trying to understand how the app works and use social media to query this, while in Nigeria, online users like the interactive discussions that take place on the platform. In India, online users have shown interest in Clubhouse’s potential to replace other audio-based apps, and become a leading app this year.

Taking a closer look at the high social volume of ‘Clubhouse’ mentions during December 2020, some of the trending themes included:

  • ‘Clubhouse room’, which refers to different rooms in the app that users can enter, by invitation only, to participate in discussions.
  • ‘Invite’ and ‘phone’, which refers to the ways in which you can access the platform.


Online Users Open To New Social Networks
Global Social Volume (blue) vs Social Reach (green) on ‘Omegle’ between 12 January 2020 and 12 January 2021.

Launched in March 2009, Omegle is a free online chat website that randomly pairs users in one-on-one chat sessions, with conversations taking place anonymously. During the course of 2020, there were three key moments where social media mentions on ‘Omegle’ peaked worldwide.

The first was in April 2020, where the data recorded just over 40,000 social media mentions on ‘Omegle’. This was due to high interest in a woman, dubbed ‘Crazy Cat Lady’, and her animal abuse videos. Other mentions include users on Reddit asking for people’s experience of the platform as lockdown restrictions were implemented around the same time. 

In July 2020, the data recorded more than 45,000 social media mentions on ‘Omegle’. Mentions around this time include one social user going viral for meeting American beauty YouTuber and influencer, James Charles, as well as users beginning to share their experiences on the platform – both good and bad. 

December 2020 saw the highest number of mentions related to ‘Omegle’, with just over 56,000 social media mentions and reaching 252 million people. One Reddit discussion highlighted how Omegle is primarily being used by Gen Z’s while most online users shared YouTube video content that looked back on their Omegle experience throughout 2020. 

The majority of ‘Omegle’ social media mentions are coming from the USA, followed by Brazil and the Philippines. Reasons for the mentions surrounding the social network within these three countries range from users in the Philippines using ‘Omegle’ to find love similarly to Tinder, to users in Brazil finding the platform a great way to meet new people.

In the USA, mentions on ‘Omegle’ from users include how President Donald Trump has been banned from the platform (although this was never officially verified or confirmed), while other users are warning against the use of the platform (particularly around the dangers of actually talking to strangers).

Since global mentions on ‘Omegle’ peaked the most during December 2020, some of the trending themes to emerge during this period included:

  • ‘LSD trip’, which refers to another Reddit discussion regarding Omegle strangers ending up at a McDonald’s after taking hallucinogenic drugs.
  • ‘Questions or concerns’, which refers to some online user’s general feelings towards the platform.

While Omegle is not a new social networking platform, it certainly gained much attention from online users looking for new ways to connect with others during the pandemic. However, despite its growing popularity, not everyone is on board with using the platform.

he 15.6% of social media users that like ‘Omegle’ feel this way because of how it has been helpful in socialising and meeting new people, as well as maintaining their social skills during the pandemic.

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