Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the past few weeks (which, frankly, I wish I had been) you’ll have seen the NekNomination craze that has been taking Facebook by storm.
This involves people downing alcoholic drinks and then nominating someone else to do the same, possibly by going one better than their nominator. The ‘hilarious’ japes are filmed and posted onto their Facebook timeline, so all of their friends can see how much of a lad they are. Fun huh?
It has been reported that the craze started off in Australia, and that it only reached the UK a few weeks ago. It’s obviously a universal fact that drinking is ‘cool’ and the more alcohol your can drink, the cooler you are.
Not only is the phenomenon stupid, it has also been linked to the deaths of two young men in Northern Ireland. These incidents were enough to raise concern about the game’s impact, and two government ministers in Ireland have condemned the practice and questioned the role of social media sites like Facebook.
A number of NekNomination videos have sparked conversations for good reasons, including a number of people refusing to take part in the process. This chap in South Africa has used his nomination for the power of good. Instead of just downing a can of lager, he has tried to harness the power of social media to make a positive change.
I’m not sure how many other people his video has inspired to do the same thing, but it’s had over 300,000 views, so at least his Klout score has probably gone up a few points if nothing else.
Nobody enjoys downing a pint of whiskey mixed with cider, milk, toothpaste, gravy, Ribena and pretty much anything else you can think of, so why are they doing it? Is it for ‘lad points’? Are they hoping to chalk it up as some sort of achievement? Or are they just doing it because everyone else is?
The number of people you come across in everyday life who are afraid to say no, or say what they really think, because they’re afraid of upsetting someone else is ridiculous. What do people think will happen if they said no, or decided not to do it? I’m pretty sure being called a ‘wetter’ and some of your brain dead ‘mates’ thinking you’re not as cool as they are isn’t the worst that could happen.
Along with other online incidents like cyber-bullying, it is often the social networks that are blamed and vilified by parents and those in charge, and Facebook itself is being held responsible for the fallout of the NekNomination craze.
Whilst any deaths that are linked to social networks and online are obviously terrible, there’s no taking a way from that, it’s not the social networks that are the problem. If Facebook just sat around without anyone using it, I doubt there would be less cyber-bullying or young people feeling pressured to down pints of spirits. It’s human interaction that sees people being bullied online and feeling like they need to take part in ridiculous online games to fit in.
That being said however, I think that social networks need to take some sort of responsibility for what’s going on on their sites, and there need to be stricter punishments for those who are accountable. If a teenager kills themselves because they have been targeted by bullies online, why is nobody then held responsible for what their actions have caused?
As they say about marmite, you either love it or you hate it, and I’m the same with the Internet. Some days it makes me feel proud that we as a human race have advanced so far, when I’m learning about new inventions and seeing people share wonderful, educational and funny content. Other days it makes me want to retreat into my flat and never go outside again, because people are so vile to each other.
So let’s continue to use our powers for good, fellow peoples of the Internet, and take a stand against ridiculous Internet drinking games.