WITH the Ice Bucket Challenge doing the rounds on news websites and social media over the past week, the BFP looks at five other internet crazes to take the world by storm. Some more advisable than others of course...
Rivalled last year only by the ludicrous ‘Gangnam Style’ dance, which thankfully became passé all too soon, the Harlem Shake caught on like wildfire in early 2013.
The craze, which began in Australia, involved a video in which a single person danced alone to the intro of a dubstep song by American DJ Baauer. Nothing interesting about that, you might say.
But after the bass ‘drops’, the same scene is replaced with a maniacally convulsing fancy-dressed group, from students to office workers and even soldiers, dancing wildly until the close of the video.
Odd what catches on, really. But catch on it did, with around 40,000 Harlem Shake videos uploaded by mid-February of that year and more than one billion views online just over a month after the craze started.
The whole premise of an internet craze is that people have to be able to see what you’re doing and want to copy it. Hard to imagine this craze catching on then, without the likes of Facebook and Twitter, given that its just a case of lying down.
But planking did stir the interest of the masses in 2007, and pretty soon after it went viral the world was falling over itself trying to post the most incongruous or ridiculous shot of themselves lying down flat, mimicking a plank, in the weirdest and most wonderful of locations.
Notable ‘planks’ include doctors and nurses at a hospital in Swindon who were suspended for playing the game on duty.
No make up selfie
No one is really sure why, in March this year, women (mainly) starting posting photos of themselves on social media wearing no make-up. But they did, in their droves.
In what seems to be becoming a trend in itself, the practice soon morphed into a ‘campaign’ to raise awareness, or raise money, or cure, cancer. It’s not clear which, as no cancer charity was behind the seemingly spontaneous craze.
No doubt lured in by the ‘good cause’ wrapping, celebrities from across the world barraged Facebook and Twitter with the pictures, labelled helpfully with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie
However, the groundswell of support for the cause did bear fruit, with Cancer Research UK reporting an £8m surge in donations during the viral craze.
Not a nice one, this. Happy Slapping, as it became known, actually pre-dates many of the social media platforms that now host the sharing of viral crazes.
Before Facebook and Twitter launched, teenagers (mostly) were taking advantage of the video cameras that started appearing in phones, and recording videos to view and share among their friends at school.
Quite why the onset of new technology sparked a craze for sneaking up on someone and batting them round the head, we’ll perhaps never know.
Nevertheless, the craze hit headlines when eventually, and inevitably, someone got killed.
Two teenagers were jailed for the manslaughter of a man in West Yorkshire, after beating him to death and asking a young girl to film the whole thing.
Luckily, the world has now moved on, and generally, new crazes seem to be more benign and inclusive.
Setting yourself on fire
Sadly, this one is neither beign nor inclusive and easily tops the bill in terms of stupidity.
The ‘Fire Challenge’ originated in America, and thankfully, doesn’t seem to have permeated these shores.
Nevertheless, there are enough people Stateside that think dousing themselves in lighter fluid or similar and setting light to their bodies is a legitimate form of entertainment.
Needles to say, several teenagers have been admitted to hospital with severe burns, with one mother charged this week after agreeing to film her 16-year-old son take on the challenge. And guess what, he got burned.
Given that the craze for crazes is simply a global school playground, where dares get passed worldwide instead of pupils to pupil, it’s no wonder that one-upmanship has reached these levels.
Still, don’t try it at home, eh kids?