Opinions
James Stevenson/The Gauntlet

Don't break your neck doing a neknomination

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If you’ve spent any time on Facebook recently, you’ve probably seen at least a few examples of the website’s latest craze: neknominations.

A neknomination is an online drinking dare that involves recording yourself performing an alcohol-related stunt and then uploading the video to Facebook. The “neknominee” begins the video by thanking whoever nominated him or her, and after completing the stunt, concludes the video by nominating two new people, who have 24 hours to upload their own version. The idea is to come up with a unique idea, as well as to upstage whoever nominated you. Neknominations have become popular among university students. Many of the videos appear to be coming from university dorm rooms.

While most Facebook fads are foolish, such as vines and doge memes, I think neknominations take the cake in terms of stupidity. This is the first Facebook fad I know of that has resulted in multiple deaths. As of mid-February, news stories about deaths related to the online phenomenon have already been published by the National Post, the Guardian and the Daily Mail. Stephen Brooks and Johnny Byrne of the U.K. and Ross Cummins of Ireland are a few instances in which neknominations have turned fatal. All three were either teenagers or in their twenties. Despite these news stories, the fad continues to soar in popularity among young people. The rules of the game mean that each nomination will result in at least two new videos, as nominating two new people is a requirement. This results in exponential growth.

While the original neknomination game was perfectly safe — chug a pint of beer on camera, upload it to Facebook, and then nominate two new people to do the same within 24 hours — the game has evolved to the point that many of the stunts have become physically dangerous. Many nominees are starting to push themselves to the limits of their ability to consume alcohol in order to upstage their friends.

Some of the neknominations I have seen include people drinking as much as five ounces of hard liquor in as little as 20 seconds. When I went to bartending school, they taught us that the human liver can process about one ounce of alcohol per hour. The faster you consume alcohol, the harder it hits you.

While there is nothing wrong with having five ounces of alcohol in your system, consuming that amount in a short period of time is what causes vomiting or unconsciousness. That is why bars are not legally allowed to serve drinks with more than three ounces of hard alcohol in them. Your body can’t handle more than that. If your self-worth relies on convincing yourself that you are different and capable of feats of pointless bravado, you are a dumbass.

This fad is also stupid because of the consequences that may arise by publishing such videos of yourself on a public domain like Facebook. Unless you have previously set your privacy settings, what you post on social media is available to whoever wishes to see it. Nowadays, it is commonplace for companies to check the Facebook profiles of anyone who applies for positions at their company. What is a self-uploaded video of you chugging a concoction of vodka, beer, and protein powder supposed to say about what kind of employee you might be?

A few of the neknominations I have seen feature people who are still under 18 years of age. This I just don’t understand. How is flaunting publicly accessible videos of law-breaking a good idea?

As much as I dislike this new online craze, I doubt I’ll have to deal with it for much longer. Facebook fads have a way of burning out in popularity really quickly. Do the Harlem Shake, anyone?

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