Virality Analysis of ‘Viral Challenges Are What’s Keeping Us Occupied’
The New York Times published this article by Taylor Lorenz directly after a majority of the United States went on shut down during the first week of the COVID-19 outbreak. For a long time, America has been filled with viral challenges on social media sites such as Instagram and Tik Tok. This seemed to skyrocket during quarantine.
The article listed various challenges such as the push-up challenge, the “see a dog, post a dog” and the “draw something” challenge.
Since a majority of the country was forced into lockdown in late March, people took to their respective social media sites to keep themselves occupied.
Challenge culture has become a major part of being on social media. Those who partake in these challenges are considered “hip” while those who do other things are not up to date.
The biggest way that these challenges become viral is the spider-like web that is created from the constant sharing and reproduction of the idea. Usually, upon completion of a challenge, the individual then has to tag 5 of their friends to do it after them. This trend continues across towns and eventually across states.
People of similar interests tend to see certain trends such as the ice-bucket challenge when it was first only for ALS awareness. As more celebrities started to tag their celebrity friends, normal people started to partake in the challenge simply for fun; forgetting about the cause of the challenge, to begin with.
On the subject of celebrities, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez took part in a couple of challenges earlier this year where “they try to guess how the other would answer questions about their relationship.” Although these individuals are celebrities, the boredom of being in their home all day long drove them to social media. Although there are various ways of cultural reproduction such as fan fiction, mash-ups, remixes, etc., people tend to reproduce what they see and get inspiration from.
The same can be said for these multimillionaires who should have other ways to occupy their time. Social media is unavoidable, as well as the challenges that come along with simply following your friends or colleagues.