For the past (I really don’t want to count how many) days, certain circumstances have basically caused us to move like 90% of our lives online. Whether you’re having work meetings over Zoom, taking your yoga class via Skype, attending your cousin’s baby’s bris over a Whatsapp video call, or all of the above, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all collectively entered some sort of Black Mirror episode where we only exist on screens.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s incredible that during a global pandemic we are still able to engage with society, but I will say that this urge to interact with each other, especially on social media, has brought on some… interesting trends. I’m talking about Instagram challenges. The point of these is not only to partake in whatever activity you’ve been tagged in, but to then tag three, five, ten, however many friends you can think of who won’t hate you for it, so they can also complete said challenge and tag even more people, inevitably flooding everyone’s feed with people essentially acting like trained wildlife at SeaWorld.
I’m still undecided on how I generally feel about these, and, of course, since I am guilty of participating in a couple of them too, I really can’t judge what terrible choices you make. But, I already reorganized my pantry and have nothing else to do with my life, so I decided to rate all the challenges I can think of from awful to downright horrible.
In 9th Place
See a Pup, Send a Pup
Rating: Great challenge, keep up the good work.
Whoever started this one deserves a prize. This should be a worldwide, year-round challenge. Why did we wait for a pandemic to do this, and why aren’t more people doing it? I can pretty much guarantee that looking at cute dogs releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. Don’t question me, it’s science.
In 8th Place:
Draw [item] and add to the thread
Whatever it was; an orange, a carrot… strangely they’re all orange colored foods - is there a meaning behind this pattern? Am I overthinking it because I’m losing it? Perhaps.
This challenge is definitely harmless. I give it extra points for not asking people to fake being super productive and looking flawless during a global pandemic. Instead, you get to be creative and/or laugh at everyone’s poor drawing skills. There isn’t much to it, but it’s fine.
In 7th Place:
Fill in the Template
We’ve seen many of these templates even before our phones became an extension of our hands. I’ll even admit I did one of these. It’s cute and it doesn’t involve recording myself attempting to exercise.
I doubt that anyone is actually looking at somebody else’s filled in template and thinking “Your favorite scent is sunscreen? How fascinating!” but it is fun to make your own, and it helps get your mind off things for a while (finding those gifs is a process). Yes, it’s stupid, but it’s not that bad, and I’m not just saying it because I did it. Okay, maybe I am.
In 6th Place:
Post a Baby Picture of Yourself
The only reason why this irks me is because this challenge is clearly an excuse to post an inevitably cute picture of yourself. Don’t get me wrong, as someone who is well aware that she was an adorable meatball of a baby, I know it’s always fun to get compliments. However, it’s hardly a challenge for anyone. And it doesn’t really have much to do with anything.
I will say that I get it - my sister was tagged and she posted an incredibly cute picture of us, and we felt great about the whole thing. Nonetheless.
In 5th Place:
Choose a Song / Post a Reggaeton Song With the First Initial of Your Name, etc.
These, or any other “post a song” challenges, are all in the same category. While the intention behind it is noble – sharing music you love with the world, highlighting artists, etc – I almost felt attacked when thinking I had to pick a single song to post. Also, realistically, no one is going in to listen to all these songs. Maybe it’s just me being extra bitter, but since I love classical music as much as reggaeton, and so many more genres that are just as random in between, it’s a real Sophie’s Choice here. In any case, no.
In 4th Place:
Tossing a Grape Into Your Mouth
Rating: Like I said, dumb.
You have to be a special kind of bored to do this. Like this is what we did with our siblings on a school night when we weren’t allowed to play Super Mario Bros on our GameBoy Color and the internet wasn’t a thing. Which I guess makes it kind of wholesome? Dumb, nonetheless. Eventually, someone will choke, so at least brush up on your Heimlich.
In 3rd Place:
Post a Picture of Yourself and Tag 10 Other Women Rating: Nice try, but no.
I realize that this should be a good challenge. Feminism and whatnot. But you’re (1) somehow supposed to copy and paste a whole paragraph from the original story, and, maybe this is me being a Baby Boomer at heart, but I don’t know how to do that. And (2) you have to tag ten (TEN!) other women that inspire you or something. This is a recipe for disaster. There is no way I can choose only ten women that I love and admire without leaving someone out. Plus, my grandmas are not even on instagram. So, no.
This challenge is horrible. Don’t even get me started on these new societal expectations for everyone to suddenly be at-home olympic athletes while the world falls apart. The main reason why I hate it, though, is because I feel personally attacked every time I see it. Even when I'm blessed with friends who know better than to tag me on it.
The only reason why this didn’t make #1 worst challenge is because I guess it gets people’s blood flowing and whatnot. Other than that, this one sucks.
In 1st Place:
Play Hacky Sack with a Roll of Toilet Paper
Rating: How dare you.
If you haven’t seen this one on your feed, consider yourself lucky. I, personally, have to hold back from screaming into my phone every time I see someone kick around a roll of toilet paper. This challenge takes the top place for two reasons. One: the disrespect. People are doing this knowing damn well that the global mass hoarding of this household essential has made people in need to not be able to find it, and even some of the most developed nations have gotten a taste of what it’s been like to live in a communist dictatorship such as Venezuela for the last 20 years. *Gasps for air* and two, most of the ones I’ve seen are actually really good, which is infuriating. Do something less offensive with your talents.
There are definitely many other highly questionable challenges going around Instagram at the moment, but I feel lucky to only have seen these few so much that they made the list. Don’t get me started on Tiktok trends because I’m a Millennial and I still haven’t quite figured out how that works. I just heard that people are licking public toilet bowls and I felt the urge to yell at people to get off my lawn. I vow to never make fun of my mom for not knowing how to call me on Zoom ever again.
If you are guilty of one (or more) of these, know that I don’t hate you. I, too, have fallen into the trend of posting Instagram challenges because we’re trying to engage in times of solitude. Just, like, make better choices.
Do whatever you want with your social media as long as it keeps you busy, happy, distracted, and engaged with the people you love. Challenges are fine as long as you don’t feel pressured to be or look like someone you’re not, just to keep up with everyone else. The truth is, no one knows what’s happening.
So, are we okay? Pretty questionable, I'd say.