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#neknominate: To Down or Not to Down

The latest craze to hit Facebook, ‘Neknominate’ or ‘neck and nominate’, has caused quite a stir in the realm of adolescent drinking habits.

The start of the fad can be traced back to over a year ago in January 2013, when the hashtag ‘#neknominate’ first started trending in the UK. Although it is thought that the drinking game actually originated in Australia. It has however in this time spread across the globe, going viral on social media sites, becoming particularly popular amongst Australians and Britons.  Along with ‘Neknominate’ gaining its own entry in the Urban Dictionary, the start of 2014 has been significantly marked by the emergence of activities promoted by this drinking phenomenon through both evidence on partakers’ Facebook accounts and outside observer’s critiques of the behaviours it endorses.

In addition to the usual stresses of university  life, students find themselves up against another impending anxiety. That they might be the next one to be nominated, ‘Neknominated’ that is.

A ‘Neknomination’ involves being nominated by name via a video post on Facebook. This then means the nominee has been challenged to “Nek”, or swig in one go, a drink of their choice in the next 24 hours, hence the name. The aim of the game is to be as creative as you can in your approach to downing whatever you have chosen and taking video evidence which can be posted online. This can entail imaginative settings, costumes and of course, non and (more often than not) alcoholic beverages being added into the mix. Each time a person completes the drinking challenge they nominate friends to continue the chain of nominations. The idea is that each passing on should result in a bigger and better drinking stunt to be carried out.

This concept of escalating and competitive ‘creativeness’, which in most cases has led to extreme alcoholic drinking activities, has given rise to considerable cause for concern. The recent craze seems to have split the nation in their reaction to this drinking phenomenon. Whilst some think it is harmless fun, with videos being sources of light entertainment, others are not so convinced seeing it as reckless and unsafe.

This scepticism is however not misinformed as tragically two British lives have already been claimed by the drinking game showing that this trend, sweeping over Britain, should not be taken lightly. Health and Police officials have even released a statement deeming the game as a ‘highly dangerous practice’.

One Neknomination video titled ‘Neknomination NekNominate Compilation #1’ has over 100,000 views on YouTube, demonstrating that the video content has a huge online reach.  The video montage offers a range of extreme and bizarre examples of Neknominations ranging from drinking out of a funnel on a skate board as the young male speeds along a highway, to another adolescent downing a pint whilst cuddling a bemused chicken.

Other popular choices include downing beverages in the bath, drinking in front of unsuspecting family members and multitasking everyday events with gulping down a pint. Through this surge in Facebook video content, modern drinking habits are once again being brought into the public eye, with many asking questions about what these videos will mean for future employment possibilities of the partakers.

More recent developments of this trend include non-alcoholic replacements and appeals to acknowledge the possible dangers of binge drinking and peer pressure which can be manifested through social media sites, such as Facebook.

A chef who chose to swap alcohol for some readily available condiments whilst at work it just one example of a more recent backlash trend where people are choosing to take a more playful, ‘soft’ drink option. Even one of Nottingham’s own SRS members has chosen to innovate the concept of ‘Neknominate’ through playing the game ‘Nicknominate’ where contributors are called upon to nominate their favourite person called ‘Nick’.

On a national level CoppaFeel!, the Breast Cancer awareness charity, have recently released their new campaign #checknominate, with the slogan ‘Save lives not risk them’.

As Neknominate appears to have reached peak popularity, debates are continuing online and within public settings, as to whether the game should be banned.

At present Facebook has not banned the craze, which has mainly emerged through its site, stating that it does not go against any of its laws. The site hosts a range of groups for and against responses to this idea for a ban to be enforced. These communities include ‘Neknominate Videos’, displaying the caption ‘It is not a crime to get drunk’ and on the other end of the spectrum many groups which aim to keep working towards its ban.

In terms of the future of this new drinking fashion, there is no denying that this aptly named game has taken a dark turn, despite people’s mostly inoffensive amusing attempts to down various creative cocktails whilst wearing a manner of different outfits.

It must be remembered however that for those people who have lost friends and family members to the challenge, their lives have been changed forever because of a drinking challenge gone wrong.  

 

Edited by Caroline Chan

Katy is a final year English Student. She loves writing, attempting to learn to Ballroom dance and all things Disney. She hopes to work in an advertising agency after Graduation as a copywriter.
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