The Dumbest Trends to Ever Exist on Social Media
We have social media to thank for some of the modern era's most important revolutions. The Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement and even important fundraisers like the #IceBucketChallenge wouldn't have succeeded without the help of social media.
Other social media trends, however, have been completely ridiculous. Most of these trends come and go in a flash, but new foolish trends are popping up all over the place. Before you take your next selfie at Chernobyl, check out the dumbest trends to ever exist on social media.
Needless to say, please don’t try any of these former social media trends, as they won’t make you any cooler (or safer).
The “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” Event
In the summer of 2019, 2 million Facebook users hopped on a virtual bandwagon to storm the legendary Area 51. The event, which eventually caught the attention of government officials, was removed from Facebook after violating the site’s Community Guidelines.
This disturbing trend only requires your cell phone and a lack of privacy concerns. All you have to do is text your "number neighbor" or "text door neighbor" and share your exchange on social media. Your "number neighbor" is someone with a one-digit difference from your own phone number.
Selfies at Serious Places
In 2013, a Tumblr page launched in response to a bizarre trend writer Jason Feifer noticed on vacation. As he explored the Anne Frank Memorial, tourists of all ages were taking selfies in front of the historically significant location. That's how Selfies at Serious Places was born.
The #FireChallenge of 2014 was one of the most dangerous and disastrous trends to invade social media. With the cameras rolling, participants would willingly cover themselves in a flammable liquid and then set themselves ablaze. Firefighters, police officers and social media sites had to publicly denounce the practice to protect the public’s safety.
This cute but foolish way to trick your pets trended in the summer of 2018. All you needed was a blanket and your dog or cat's attention to play. Simply lift the blanket in front of your pet, let them know you're right behind it and then drop the blanket while you rush into another room.
The FaceApp first went viral in 2017 and early adapters were instantly hooked on its age altering photoshop skills. In 2019, celebs hopped on board, and 80 million users plunged into the #FaceAppChallenge. Going viral twice is quite an accomplishment for one app, but FaceApp fell prey to a dangerous internet rumor soon after its second wind.
This challenge, which actually traces all the way back to 2001, is a bizarre abuse of a delicious spice. The challenge is simple: film yourself eating one spoonful of cinnamon in under a minute without drinking anything to help. After coughing and/or vomiting, upload the messy carnage online.
The Harlem Shake
In 2012, American DJ Bauuer released his debut, uptempo dance track "Harlem Shake." It was a catchy blend of trap, dance and bass music, but it didn't catch on until almost a year later. The reason? People started uploading clips on YouTube of themselves raging to the song.
In 2015, reality TV star Kylie Jenner's face looked very different. Plenty of viewers watched her grow up from the time she was little, so it was surprising to see her on red carpets with a new set of lips.
This peculiar trend has been around for decades, but planking first caught social media's attention in 2009. Suddenly, everyone was sharing photos of themselves lying face down in bizarre and hard-to-reach locations. The more bizarre the location, the better the planking pic.
Makeup and body art are major players on Instagram. Having a bedazzled belly or matte foundation can earn you some serious followers, but in 2015, trendsetters took body art to a whole new level. People would strategically put sunscreen on certain parts of their bodies while letting other parts burn. The result? #sunburnart
The Tide Pod Challenge
This trend is by far one of the most dangerous internet fads in social media history. Tide released their initial packaging for the individually sized laundry pods in 2012, but the media ran wild years later with reports that children mistook them for candy and might eat them.
Hot Dog Legs
In 2013, one Instagram comment launched this popular, beachside trend. When Tumblr user @andrewpauldavis saw a pair of legs in a bathtub, he thought they looked like hot dogs. Tumblr loved the visual, and a page devoted exclusively to beachside selfies of bare legs that may or may not be hot dogs was born.
This feline trend took Facebook by storm at the start of 2012. First, you take a piece of bread and cut a hole 1-inch larger than your cat's head. Keep your kitty calm as you gently place the bread around your cat's head. Take a picture. Then become a social media legend.
This trend is not only dumb, but it's also super wasteful. Gallon Smashing requires two gallons of milk and total shamelessness. Often taking place in a supermarket, the Gallon Smasher must first smash the gallon jugs on the ground and then pretend to slip.
This may be the most dangerous kind of selfie out there. Skyscraper selfies require someone to scale the tallest buildings around and engage in extremely dangerous photo shoots. Sometimes referred to as "roofing," this trend really caught on in Russia and Asia.
You know you've seen a flash mob. Since their debut in 2003, it's likely you even participated in them. They're the viral dance routines in the middle of Times Square. They're the choreographed marriage proposals in aisle 3 of Home Depot. They're the viral video clips on social media where a large group of people assemble to do something totally random and then leave immediately afterward.
Drake has a lot of people to thank for the success of his 2018 hit "In My Feelings". Don't get us wrong, it's a certified bop. But it wasn't until the #InMyFeelingsChallenge went viral that his song topped the charts.
The game is simple: each person takes a turn shoving one marshmallow in their mouth and saying, "Chubby Bunny." This goes on until your mouth is so stuffed it can no longer hold marshmallows. Or until you can no longer say "Chubby Bunny."
The Condom Snorting Challenge
This is another bizarre case of "teens do the dumbest things". Parents and medical professionals alike were up in arms in 2018 when kids on social media were doing the Condom Snorting Challenge. The trend is exactly how it sounds, and yes, it's absolutely stupid to do.
The Mannequin Challenge
Another hit song, another viral trend on social media. In 2016, rap duo Rae Sremmurd released the music video for "Black Beatles". Throughout the video, people remain completely motionless while the camera moves around them. Everyone looked like mannequins.
The 24-Hour Overnight Challenge
Do you know where your teen is sleeping? If they're trying to complete the 24-Hour Overnight Challenge, then the answer is likely "No." That's the point of the challenge: teens and young adults in 2016 started camping overnight in chain stores and restaurants.
Cats vs. Cucumbers
In 2015, people needed a new way to irritate their cats. Enter Cats vs. Cucumbers. The premise is quite simple: While your cat is busy eating or licking itself, place a cucumber just out of its line of vision. When it catches a glimpse, hopefully, you've got your camera running.
The Falling Stars Challenge
This social media trend was all about extravagance. And looking injured. To get the right photo, all you had to do was look like you fell flat on your face with your possessions scattered around you. It started in Russia and evolved into a competition to show off how incredibly wealthy you were.
At first, this trend came from a good place. At least that's beauty blogger and #DontJudgeChallenge creator Em Ford's story. In a 2015 clip from her YouTube channel, the blogger wipes off her makeup to reveal her true self in an attempt to denounce beauty standards.
The Momo Challenge
This one is a classic case of web hysteria and parents not talking enough with their children. According to news reports in 2019, the Momo Challenge was a game on social media where images of a demonic chicken lady slides into your child's DMs with commands to commit violence against others.
The Backpack Challenge
This 2016 trend had the potential to be really dangerous. One person tries to run through two rows of people that all launch their backpacks to knock down the runner. These chaotic clips were all the rage to high schoolers, but this challenge could have seriously injured someone.
This paranormal trend actually dates back many years. In Spain, multiple generations of young people have played Juego de la Lapicera (the pencil game). In 2015, it made its crossover to the States, renamed the #CharlieCharlie challenge. All you need are two pencils and a piece of paper.
This trend is also one of the most dangerous on this list. Dating back to the 1980s, car surfing is when someone hops on top of a moving car and pretends to ride it like a surfboard. Trust us when we say "DO NOT DO THIS!"
The Banana Sprite Challenge
This eating challenge is gross to the core. Challengers are tasked with quickly eating two bananas and following them up with one liter of Sprite. This is where things get gross. You win the challenge if you don't vomit afterward.