Some social media challenges court disaster

R&B star Ciara and her husband, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, successfully took on the #KikiChallenge while on honeymoon in Cape Town. Picture: AP

Cape Town – Since the dawn of social media, viral videos, trends and challenges have become popular among users, sometimes to the detriment of their safety.

The latest challenge to hit the world is the #KikiChallenge, also known as the #InMyFeelingsChallenge and the #DoTheShiggy.

It started in June when Shiggy, an American comedian who danced to In My Feelings by American singer Drake and hash-tagged it #DoTheShiggy.

The challenge almost immediately gained popularity.

Will Smith recorded himself doing the challenge on top of a bridge in Budapest. It evolved to people jumping out of moving cars to complete the challenge, sometimes injuring themselves, all in the hope of obtaining likes, retweets and follows.

Youtube is overflowing with #KikiChallengefails showing people falling out of cars, bashing into street poles and being knocked over by cars.

In July, while on honeymoon in Cape Town, American singer Ciara and her husband Russell Wilson took on the challenge in a safe way, doing it on a grass patch with an ocean backdrop.

A few local celebrities and social media influencers as well as ordinary people have taken on the challenge in Cape Town.

Expresso presenter Katlego Maboe, who has close to one 100000 followers on Instagram, was among them. But instead of jumping out of a moving vehicle, Maboe and two colleagues jammed it out to the song in the studio.

Maboe said people get involved in social media challenges because they have a “deep desire to feel connected to others”.

“Sometimes it’s just for fun and to unwind, other times we want to send a powerful message – all rooted in our need to feel connected. It’s the basis on which social media is built.”

However, his sense of social responsibility stretches across the board to everyone on social media.

“Social media can do so much, but it can do an equal amount of harm if not used responsibly. I take that very seriously.

“Social media is a fun way to feel like you are truly part of this great big world so why not use it to create the world you want to live in by spreading that message?”

Sebrena Elliot, who has 760 Instagram followers, tried the challenge because she was intrigued by the hype.

But she was not willing to jump out of a moving car, so she chose a place where she would not endanger herself.

Warren Bright, the owner of SCOPE Digital Agency in Tokai, said social media has catapulted into popularity over the past few years and is “playing an influential role in all our lives”.

“Celebrities and well followed individuals are not the only ones who have responsibility on their hands.

“We all have some form of social media influence. Whether you have 250 followers on Instagram or 1000 on Twitter, people are listening to what you say.

“People don’t consider themselves as ‘influencers’ because they do not have one million followers and this can lead to not thinking about what they post online.

“We all talk about the responsibility these individuals with big followings have, but we often forget that we have just as much responsibility.

“You may not know it, but if you have posted on social media, you have most probably had an impact on someone’s life.

“It’s important that people are made aware of this as you need to be the change you wish to see.”

Regarding the challenges on social media, he cited The Harlem Shake, which was popular five years ago.

“Although there are fun challenges, there are some that can seriously harm you. These can be most harmful to younger individuals who are easily influenced. If it may be dangerous, give it a miss.”

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