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NekNominate – Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

NekNominate - the chuggernauts

In early 2014 a new fad quickly came and went where participants simply chugged a beer and posted it online. Although this game originated in New Zealand it quickly found widespread popularity in the UK and Ireland. Typically a Neknominate video just entailed someone chugging a beer in one go, and then nominating someone else to do the same. But once again society showed us why we can’t have nice things.

The term NekNomination comes from the term “necking a beer” which simply means to down it, and then to “nominate” the next person who has to do the same. The problem arose when everyone decided they wanted to one-up each other and chug more potent beverages in more dangerous circumstances.

NekNominate Highlights of 2014

As you can see this quickly escalated from a game to a problem. In fact multiple news sources reported that there has been at least 5 deaths in the UK and Ireland directly related to this game. Even the person who is in charge of running NekNominations official Facebook page has agreed that enough is enough.

“Neknomination was fun while it lasted but even I admit it has gotten out of control,” read a message on the page over the weekend. “This will be our last post.”

History of the NekNomination: The Rise And Fall of a Fad

The Beginning

The earliest mentions of this game can be found on 2011 when the game was relatively niche with just a few players playing across the world through Skype calls. At this point it wasn’t really intended as a widespread publicity stunt, it was more a simple game to have fun with friends.

Viral Success

It wasn’t until Christmas of 2013 when a Facebook video by the famous Rubgy player “Ross Samson” got widespread popularity. In which he chugged a beer and then called out  “I nominate all of you whose birthday it’s not. Merry Christmas.”. Like many others associated with this fad, Ross quickly distanced himself from the movement once it got too dangerous.

Fast forward a year and this phenomenon is in full swing. Videos are being nominated left and right and everyone is having a great time. Or so we all thought.

Sudden Downfall

Soon after it’s popularity, the game got more and more intense. With players doing insane stunts to boost their videos above others and prove they are the best at drinking fast and doing stupid things. The Metro started reporting on the deaths of people who took it a few steps too far.

Before anyone could even grasp what was happening 5 deaths had been reported. From people drowning in vodka to others keeling over with alcohol poisoning it was clear that this fad needed to end.

Where is it Now?

Fast forward to today where there is next to no remaining threads of this game. However many much more kind-hearted variants have shown up like the Ice Bucket Challenge or the clever Italian twist where instead of “neking” a beer they instead sing a song by popular recording artist Nek or by reading.

It’s easy to see how this spiraled out of control. Drinking and dangerous activities have always gone hand-in-hand. When you throw a bit of viral success to add a bright light to the end of the tunnel things tend to get messy. In the blink of an eye NekNominate went from a fun Skype game to a global threat that was all too real for a few people. Proving once again why we can’t have nice things.