At the end of the year, Reddit — which acts like a window into the infinite world of the internet, for better or worse — gives a review of content that did exceptionally well on its platform. By "well," we mean content that got gigantic amounts of user engagement — the currency of viral posts online. The data for Reddit's 2020 review spans from January 1 to November 6 of this year.
It turns out that Rick Astley, who created the "Never Gonna Give You Up" 1987 hit and consequently became the face of the hugely irritating Rickrolling meme, ended up winning the title of having the most upvotes on a photo on Reddit by posting a photo of himself in Las Vegas in 1989. "I've found a few funny memories during lockdown," Astley (known as /u/ReallyRickAstley on Reddit) wrote for the title of the post.
"This is from my first tour in 1989, backstage in Vegas," he added. In it, our young lad can be seen schmoozing at the camera on a dull yellow bicycle with the famous denim shirt and baggy jeans on. Of course, those trolled by the Rickrolling meme probably thought this was yet another prank. But in a comment stickied to the top of the post by moderators of r/pics — where at least 19,000 people have chimed in since Astley uploaded the photo five months ago — user /u/RamsesThePigeon confirms, "Yes, folks, this is really Rick Astley. No, he will not be giving you up, letting you down, or... look, you get it."
2020 in Reddit-verse — Reddit calls 2020 a "life-changing, world-shifting" year marked with "tumultuous events," which is a fairly realistic description. The platform announced its review today noting that the Reddit community got together during the pandemic to provide each other useful lifestyle lessons, humor, and of course, some support during these trying times.
The review also notes that Reddit became one of the go-to online spaces for many to discuss Black Lives Matter protests, American politics, environmental issues like climate change, and other pressing matters. And although Astley's photo won the coveted title of the most upvoted post on Reddit, other winners include intense criticism for toilet paper hoarders at the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns, a meme that juxtaposes the bellowing New York Police Benevolent Association president Mike O'Meara complaining about Black Lives Matter protesters alongside disturbing videos of police violently attacking civilians, an amusing timeline of a flat-Earther coming to his senses, and police brutality in Minneapolis.
In addition to upvoted content, Reddit also points to the most upvoted Ask-Me-Anything posts of 2020, which included AMAs by Bill Gates as well as political contenders Jaime Harrison and Betsy Sweet who ran against senators Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins respectively. It's a dynamic review with details about the most discussed topics as well as communities that got user and activity boosts this year. If you want to stick your head in the internet's window, check out the full Reddit 2020 review linked above.