Coronavirus has made life very tough for us in real life. People from different fields are facing challenges in their own ways. Doctors and frontline health workers are facing the challenges head on to save the infected since day 1. There is no proper vaccine for cure. Police departments are fighting to keep public inside their houses and to make them wear masks. Workers are losing jobs and businessmen are facing losses. Migrant workers faced challenges while going back to their villages. Sellers in various markets have incurred huge loss due to lockdown for around three months. Students are yet to know when examinations and admissions will be held. The lockdown has also affected mental health of people for suddenly arrived stress in life. But the scenario is totally opposite in various social media platforms. The virtual world challenges are quite different from the real world.
People around the world have taken to social media to get over insecurity that comes with staying home for prolonged hours. It is known as the FOMO syndrome (Fear Of Missing Out). The insecurity arises out of a fear that I am being left out while others are coping with the challenges facing us. People have started showing off their artistic skills in varying domains like cooking, drawing, singing dancing, reciting. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter are being used for the performance. There are whole lot of creativity and innovations in social media as people do not have jam-packed schedule thanks to the pandemic. Celebrities have also joined the group to have fun with their fans. Some such virtual challenges are:
- #DalgonaCoffee: It was the number one viral challenge in Facebook and WhatsApp in 2020. It seems everyone loves coffee and knows how to make it. It is a traditional way of preparation by beating the milk and coffee together for a few minutes and put it as cream on milk. But suddenly it became viral among people. Everybody participated and uploaded their ‘masterchef’-style videos and pictures to prove how good they were.
- #UntilTomorrowChallenge: This was started in Instagram. People started posting their weird, funny or embarrassing pictures with this hashtag and nominated their pals. The picture were to be in their accounts for twenty four hours. In posting such pictures and sharing those around people would overcome the anxiety of being left behind.
- #SareeChallenge & #DhotiChallenge: Girls in Facebook started putting their pictures wearing saree. After this went viral boys would also start sharing pictures in dhotis. One person has to upload his/her best picture and ‘nominate’ friends to do the same. Everyone’s account would be full of people in saree and dhoti. This challenge went on for a while.
- #BingoChallenge / #ThisorThatChallenge/ #BucketlistChallenge: These three types of challenges became most viral in Instagram. Students and those working in offices made their personalized bingo challenge depicting the quality time spent in educational institutes and workplaces. People would have to tick activities done in a specified place or time. It is like a questionnaire template and answers must be given with stickers or check marks.
- #GibberishChallenge: It is still now trending in Instagram among youth, celebrities and stand-up comedians with their personalized touch. This is a game where some gibberish words will be there and one has to mention the correct sentence or word or phrase. It is funny and interesting to play. It checks one’s mind and knowledge in an interactive way.
- #PassTheBrushChallenge: This was again most common and viral challenge among girls in Facebook and Instagram. Here a person starts with a natural look without any makeup on and then she reveals a glamourous look after briefly covering the camera screen with a makeup brush. She has to pass the brush to the next participant in the challenge. They also made their own personalized themes like Bollywood style, Celebrations style, Comics style and many more. Artists also started this challenge while showing off their artistic skills in painting and drawing while passing the paint brush. Some of them passed food and snacks while feeding stray animals on roads.
One finds that TikTok has been the source of the highest number of fun challenges for people during the lockdown. Even with the Unlockdown 1.0 people are still participating in new challenges. The challenges have covered the world after becoming viral. They helped lot of people to remain active and escape boredom and insecurity to a certain extent. The challenges reveal that when physical mobility is restricted we can remain mentally alert by taking the virtual route.