NekNominations took the world by storm in January 2014, but it was a wave of good deed videos that made it all newsworthy to me.
#Neknominations challenge extended
Charlie Bit My Finger… Harlem Shake… David After Dentist.
These are all prime examples of YouTube video sensations that have gone viral in the last few years. With the entertainment factor in tow, that’s just about what all viral videos have to offer.
But on the tail of the Internet’s newest craze of NekNomination videos, changing the rules may just take over the world – for the better.
Well, first you need to understand what a NekNomination is.
While the origins of the online drinking game are still up for debate, in Australia, the fad began in bars and rugby clubs, where patrons would chug a drink (necking) and then nominate someone else to do the same.
These ended up being captured on video, and netizens caught wind, reaching North America shortly thereafter.
Twenty-nine-year-old business owner Brent Lindeque from Johannesburg, South Africa heard about NekNominations two weeks ago, and his first reaction was simply, “Why?”
“Why would someone post something like that online?” he said. “People need to be a little more responsible about what they’re putting out there.”
Lindeque didn’t know he would be NekNominated, but he knew that if he did, he would do something different.
“I got nominated the morning of [January 31] … and I made my way to my regular place to get lunch,” he said. “On the street corners in South Africa, you will find people begging … My idea behind it was, I knew that guy must have been standing there the whole day and he hadn’t left his post for lunch, he was standing there begging. I thought I’d buy someone lunch … and then nominate two people to do the same or better.”
He reiterated the importance of being responsible for whatever is posted online.
“In a couple years’ time, if someone’s ever researching me, whether it be an employer or kids, I’d want them to see stuff online that I could be proud of,” he said.
And most important of all: “If I could create some sort of chain of good deeds, even in my own circle of friends, 10 people get fed, then I’ve done something amazing.”
Now with over 400,000 views on YouTube, Lindeque’s selfless act has been inspiring others to do the same, sparking a particular interest in second-year University of Ottawa med school student, Josh Stern.
“I saw it coming to Canada and start to invade my friend circle,” said Stern. “These things weren’t doing any good, and the worst part about it is that it was spreading like wildfire.”
“With the deaths in Ireland from the game, that just took it to a whole new level. I knew that it was not beneficial, and people making their videos public … you can’t get jobs if someone sees you doing that,” he explained.
Stern cited Lindeque’s video as inspiration to start carving his own path.
“I didn’t know he was going to go farther with it and come up with his own campaign [Change One Thing], so I was putting it on myself to come up with Feed the Deed … and just wanted it to take off,” he said.
The Western alumnus hadn’t been NekNominated, but said the night before a med school exam, he wasn’t sleeping – he was thinking about what he would do if he were to get nominated.
“I just thought to myself, ‘I’m just going to do it,’” he said. “After my exam on my way home, I just picked up some sandwiches and gave them to some homeless people … I didn’t need to get NekNominated, I just needed to get this thing going as soon as possible – making a change straight away.”
“The thing with [the campaign] Feed the Deed, it’s also peer pressure. You’re calling out your friends, but in a positive light,” he said. “If they don’t have the motivation to get up and help someone on their own, calling them out on Facebook or social media gives them that extra push to go out and do something. The best part is it’s exponential.”
Since posting his video, Stern partnered up with a friend who already had a non-profit foundation called Kindness Counts. The two are now seeing videos posted on Kindness Counts’ page with the hashtag #FeedtheDeed. “It is a combined effort,” said Stern.
This isn’t a challenge; this is a chance to make a choice.
“The whole negativity around NekNominations, it’s important to stop and see that [it’s] really getting you nowhere,” said Stern. “Turning it around a complete 180 to bring some positivity to the world, especially with social media, and seeing how the NekNominations blew up – I just figured it was important to take my message and blow [it] up in the exact same way.”
To learn more about Lindeque’s Change One Thing campaign, like the Facebook page at facebook.com/changeonethingsa, and to learn more about Kindness Counts, visit facebook.com/kindnesscountsfoundation.