Irish News

Monday 28 July 2014

Phenomenon took off in London, caught fire in Australia and was exported home by our young expats

Published 04/02/2014|02:30

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The #Neknomination hashtag has appeared online since last year when the trend is understood to have begun in London.

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It appears to have been an underground phenomenon for many months before exploding into international consciousness. Once enough people were participating, the nature of social media means it was able to move around the globe in startling fashion.

From the UK it appears to have travelled to Australia, where it spread like wildfire in the early weeks of this year.

There it is likely to have to come to the attention of Irish ex-pats who in turn passed the trend to friends back home.

This is how the craze – and widespread concern about it – moved around the globe:

2013: An analysis of online trends during 2013 show that the majority of activity came from the UK. London features prominently, as do cities with large student populations such as Bath, Bristol, Loughborough and Edinburgh.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 2: A social media page set up in Australia had more than 4,000 fans and several videos of Australians downing beers.

Analysis of the #neknominations hashtag in early January revealed that many of them were originating in Melbourne.

JANUARY 15: Concern grows among Australian media as potentially dangerous stunts are combined with downing alcoholic drinks. It was reported that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority will question a pilot after video posted online showed two men hanging by the skis of a helicopter.

JANUARY 16: The trend has spread to New Zealand where the Child Youth and Family agency investigates a video in which a young boy, understood to be just six, is seen apparently drinking from a beer bottle as part of a Neknomination dare.

MONDAY, JANUARY 20: Independent.ie reports on the online trend for the first time as Neknominations begin to hit Ireland in earnes. Fionnuala Sheehan, chief executive of the Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society (MEAS), confirmed to Independent.ie that the body was "very concerned" about the online "game".

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30: Alcohol Action Ireland warned the "so-called drinking game" was gaining momentum on social media in Ireland. "While some may see it as a game, the consequences of drinking large volumes of alcohol in a short period of time can have very real consequences for people in terms of their health and well-being," a spokesman said.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1: Ross Cummins (22) is found dead by shocked housemates hours after participating in a Neknomination. The popular DJ is understood to have downed a potent drink at a party in Dublin on Friday night before going to bed, but was found dead the next morning.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2: The body of talented hurler Jonny Byrne (19) is recovered from a swollen driver. He drowned after leaping into the River Barrow in Co Carlow during a Neknomination dare. His brother Patrick takes to Facebook with a heartfelt plea for others to boycott the internet craze.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3: The backlash begins in earnest as Patrick's message has been read by tens of thousands around the world. Taoiseach Enda Kenny, a senior judge and numerous health experts join in condemnation of the craze.

Irish Independent

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