social media challenges

Social Media Contests: A Timeline of Viral Challenges

Social media gives people the power to connect. How people use that opportunity is up to them. We’ve seen social media react to worldwide events, spur social movements, reconnect families and more. But we’ve also seen social media leverage communication for fun. Social media contests inspire users to try new things. While some have more admirable purposes than others, most people can agree that these challenges became viral for a reason: even if it’s just because of curiosity.

Learn about the most popular social media contests, including each social media challenge’s name, description, peak, and hashtag.

cinnamon challenge

Cinnamon Challenge
Description: Like other popular food-eating contests, the Cinnamon Challenge was further intensified through social media.
Original Platform: YouTube
Peak: 2013
Hashtag: No particular hashtag

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Harlem Shake
Description: A sole dancer would be surrounded by a stoic group. Then, at Baauer’s Harlem Shake’s drop, the whole group would go wild.
Original Platform: YouTube
Peak: February 2013
Hashtag: No particular hashtag

planking

Planking
Description: A person would lay flat, like a wooden plank, and pose for a photo in unusual places.
Original Platform: Facebook
Peak: February 2013
Hashtag: No particular hashtag

Name: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Description: To raise awareness and money for ALS, people dumped buckets of ice water on their heads, uploaded the video to social media, tagged others to do the same, and encouraged donations (particularly if the nominated person did not complete the challenge within 24 hours). Peak: Summer 2014 Hashtag: #ALSIceBucketChallenge

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Description: To raise awareness and money for ALS, people dumped buckets of ice water on their heads, uploaded the video to social media, tagged others to do the same, and encouraged donations (particularly if the nominated person did not complete the challenge within 24 hours).
Original Platform: Facebook
Peak: Summer 2014
Hashtag: #ALSIceBucketChallengeName: Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge Description: Put a shot glass over your mouth, suck in air, then release. Mimics the lip injections by Kylie Jenner. Warning: Growing Social Media does not recommend this challenge. Hashtag: #KylieJennerChallenge Peak: April 2015

Kylie Jenner Lips Challenge
Description: Put a shot glass over your mouth, suck in air, then release. This lip-plumping effect mimics the lip injections by Kylie Jenner, but resulted in many harmful bodily reactions.
Original Platform: Twitter
Hashtag: #KylieJennerChallenge
Peak: April 2015

Charlie_Charlie_Challenge

The Pencil Game/Charlie Charlie Challenge
Description: Lying one pencil across the other, on top of a piece of paper with yes or no in every corner, people would ask Charlie Charlie to answer their questions as the pencil would mysteriously move.
Original Platform: Twitter
Peak: May 2015
Hashtag: #CharlieCarlieChallenge

social media challenges

Don’t Judge Challenge
Description: People made video transformations of themselves, starting with looking as ugly as possible to ending as attractive as possible and played against a musical background. This challenge was quite controversial in its message.
Peak: July 2015
Original Platform: Vine
Hashtag: #DontJudgeChallenge

running man challenge, social media challenges

Running Man Challenge
Description: Mimic a pair of high schooler’s dance moves to the Ghost Town DJs song, My Boo.
Peak: April 2016
Original Platform: Instagram
Hashtag: #RunningManChallenge

Social Media Challenges Cheerio Challenge

Cheerio Challenge
Description: Stack as many cheerios on a baby’s head as possible.
Peak: Father’s Day 2016
Original Platform: Instagram
Hashtag: #cheeriochallenge

Love Your Spouse Challenge

Love Your Spouse Challenge
Description: Post 7 photos, 7 days in a row that exemplifies how or why you love your partner in order to put a positive spin on marriage. However, spin-offs quickly surfaced as well.
Original Platform: Facebook
Peak: August 2016
Hashtag: #LoveYourSpouse

Mannequin Challenge 
Description: Pose completely still and life-less, like a mannequin. The bigger the group the cooler the result. Creativity points for poses that reflect what your doing whether it’s riding an airplane, playing sports, taking selfies, weight lifting, or military training. Only the videographer can move! Hint: use the notorious mannequin challenge song while recording: Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd.
Original Platform: Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat
Peak: October – November 2016
Hashtag: #mannequinchallenge

Kevin H. Stanford

Kevin H. Stanford

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