Neknominate: Social Media Madness

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Some of you may well be aware by now of the trend #Neknominate. For those of you who aren’t, this originated late last year between a group of friends on Facebook. One of them was nominated to ‘Neck’ their drink in a video shared on Facebook and then passed the nomination on to two friends to be completed within 24 hours. This sparked the latest internet craze, which has spiralled out of control this week with one lady (pictured above) completing her nomination on a horse in Tesco’s.

It’s interesting that this craze has received as much media attention this week as Facebook’s 10th Birthday Celebrations, and worrying too. This correlation has highlighted that in 10 years of social media evolution, interacting through dangerous, and now life threatening, crazes has become acceptable.

A couple of the nominations I’ve watched have resulted in the nominees actually being physically sick from trying to down too many drinks at once. Whilst I see it could be a harmless trend, there is definitely cause for concern for younger members on social media facing significant peer pressure to complete the task and perpetuating ‘lad’ culture.

The only silver lining in this case, is that apparently students in South Africa have evolved the trend into nominations for good deeds. Instead of showing off a basic life skill that everyone possesses, namely the ability to drink, they are using the trend to help those less fortunate and in need.

Whilst Neknominate probably started as harmless fun, it’s a key example of the power of social media, but I hope we start to reclaim it for good. This week, a man in France was imprisoned for the abuse of a cat due to a shared video on social media, a punishment that would have previously not been possible for this maltreatment. If we all spent more time sharing for the greater good and using the platforms as a place for encouragement, support and creativity instead of a demonstration of how ‘awesome’ we all are, perhaps 10 years from now it will be a different story.

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