The words ‘trending’ and ‘viral’ have become attached to the concept of Instagram. Over the past years, Instagram has indeed taken on the literal role of being a platform to raise awareness for certain causes. International cause groups and charitable organisations have capitalised on this and have started on challenges to raise money and awareness for their certain cause. However, netizens are very much quick on their feet (brains, I should say), to create outrageous viral challenges themselves. The following are some of the best and worst viral challenges on the internet:
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Netizens saw celebrities Justin Bieber, Niall Horan, a drunk Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Emily Blunt, and even Bill Gates doused themselves with a bucket full of ice in the middle of summer 2014 because of this challenge. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaigned for awareness on the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease. The challenge was simple, film yourself dumping ice on your head then nominate another person to do the same or simply donate money to the ALS fund to avoid doing the whole thing altogether.
Lou Gehrig’s disease (or ALS) targets the body’s neurones in charge of the voluntary muscles. This leads to the eventual stiffness, immobility, weakening and degeneration of the muscles.
According to the ALS Association, during the peak of the ALS Challenge, they were able to receive $100.9 million worth of donations. A big increase from the $2.8 million they received in the same period, the year before.
The idea of planking is simple, participants will simply lie down on their stomach, on a flat surface, like a wooden plank. But netizens really do have their way of making everything crazier as it really seems. In just days, the world saw people planking in the middle of roads, on top of buildings, and even inside a vending machine.
Just like other viral challenges, selfies have become a common thing on Instagram. The #NoMakeUpSelfie was a UK-based challenge that aimed to raise money for cancer research. The challenge had women take a selfie without makeup and upload pictures on Instagram and tag at least five friends to do the same challenge. They also had to donate to the research fund. In less than a week, the movement was able to raise 8 million pounds.
Kylie Jenner lip challenge
Anyone who has access to the internet probably knows of the Kardashians. The latest Kardashian to make waves on the internet is Kylie Jenner. Aside from her own line of cosmetics, Kylie Jenner caught the attention of netizens due to sudden changes in her lips. Netizens questioned the sudden ‘plumping’ in her lips and even went to the extent of accusing Jenner to have undergone lip injections. Kylie was quick to answer that she did not have lip injections. Jenner said that she just used a lip plumper to achieve fuller lips.
Netizens responded by trying it by sucking a shot glass for a few minutes. The results were horrendous. Reports even said that a teen was rushed to the hospital because of lip bleeding from doing the challenge.
San Francisco’s Bat Kid
Miles, San Francisco turned into Gotham City for a day to support their very own BatKid. Miles Scott, then a 5-year-old leukaemia survivor wished through the Make-A-Wish foundation to fight crime side by side with Batman. Through the help of Instagram, thousands of people showed up in support of BatKid battle Riddler, Penguin, and Blue Seal. San Francisco’s head of police even became the Commissioner for that day.
The hashtag, SFBatKid, caught the attention of the whole United States, that even Christian Bale, Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, and President Barack Obama gave Scott a “shout out”.
The internet is really something else. Instagram is indeed not only a means to communicate with others, but it has also become a platform to address pressing issues in the society today.