#Neknomation: Will you accept the challenge?

kegstand1What do two types of beer, vodka, milk, a spider, and four dead mice have in common?

These are just a few of the ingredients that 24 year-old Aaron Johnson of Gravesend, England food processed and drank on film, later uploading the footage to Facebook and YouTube and calling on two of his friends to try to outdo his disturbing performance.

Aaron’s stunt is part of an outlandish new trend known as Neknomination, an global online drinking game where participants film themselves “necking” liquor in a daring or humorous fashion, and then nominating two friends to out-drink and out-perform them by attempting more extreme stunts. Those who accept the challenge upload their drinking footage to their social media network within 24 hours of being nominated. To date, there are hundreds of Neknomination videos shared on Facebook and YouTube, some of which have over 400,000 views each.

As the popularity of the game has drastically increased through the Internet and social media, nominees have taken to performing challenges in more extreme circumstances by drinking larger, more potent quantities of liquor, or by engaging in dangerous activities either during or immediately after finishing their drinks. One woman downed an entire bottle of Jagermeister through a home-made funnel. An undergraduate student at the University of Leeds interrupted his lecture with a vuvuzela, and then guzzled a beer in front of hundreds of students and his professor. Another man emptied liquor into a toilet bowl, and then got two of his friends to hold his feet up as he did a handstand over the bowl and lapped up all of the booze.

Although some of these videos may seem like harmless fun, other stunts linked to the global game have had fatal consequences. At least five men have died in relation to Neknominations, either from the drinking itself or the stunts they attempted after downing the alcohol. But despite the deaths of these young men, coupled with knowledge of the dangers of excessive drinking, the game remains popular across the globe. 

So why are young people, particularly university students, perpetuating the Neknomination craze? Within the game, nominees are called to action in front of their social networks through various online channels. Students may feel pressure from their friends and cohorts to participate, as those who do not accept the challenge or who do not outperform their nominator, risk losing face among their peers. Other students may post outrageous Neknomination videos in an effort to gain popularity through “likes”. Whatever the reason, the online drinking craze has gone viral through social media, and has lead to a number of tragic outcomes. 

In an effort to curb the social media drinking craze, some students have opted to “[spread] good cheer, rather than beer,” performing random acts of kindness, or “Nicenominations“, and challenging their friends to do the same.

Would you accept a Neknomination, Nicenomination, or neither from your peers? Why or why not? How might sharing these videos through social media affect your online and physical identity?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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