Inexplicable #BackpackChallenge Tops The Viral List

The latest #Challenge sweeping high schools and Twitter, the kitchen gadget that’s gone viral, a meme all about trying to stay non-political, and more stories and trends earning buzz this week!

1. Yes, the #BackpackChallenge Is a Thing

The Backpack Challenge is sweeping high schools across the nation. To participate, teens line up and throw heavy backpacks at a peer, who needs to run through the launched bags without getting knocked down. The challenge originally began trending in November, but has resurfaced with a vengeance. The #BackpackChallenge hashtag on Twitter surfaces a feed of kids lining up to toss backpacks at one brave challenger. Seem bizarre/confusing? We don’t disagree. But don’t spend too much time trying to figure it out—as with most teen social media challenges (think The Cinnamon Challenge, etc.) there’s little “why” behind this “what.” As one teen told BuzzFeed, “It’s just for fun. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.”

2. The Viral Kitchen Gadget

Can cooking tools go viral? The success of the Instant Pot shows us they can. The Instant Pot has become a massive success thanks to viral word of mouth on social media, becoming Amazon’s best-selling item in the U.S. Business Insider calls it “the Internet’s favorite kitchen appliance,” citing the thousands upon thousands of glowing reviews the product has received and the passionate communities of Instant Pot users trading tips and recipes on Reddit, Facebook and beyond. The CEO of the company behind the 7-in-1 gadget says of their viral success, "Cooking is very much a social behavior. If people make good food, they will be raving about it, including the tools used.”

3. Can You Say Anything Non-Political?

In the contentious political climate we’re experiencing now, everything can be political—from Super Bowl…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “A wedding trend I’ve noticed recently is guests not dressing formally to the reception/wedding, more come as you are attitude.”—Female, 24, MI

This week, Mattel introduced an American Boy doll, their first male offering in the company’s 31-year history. New doll Logan Everett is part of a pair of singer-songwriters from Nashville who come with music-inspired accessories. The company reports that customers have been asking for a male doll for some time, and Mattel’s continuing strategy to diversify their offerings helped increase sales by 4% last year. (KidscreenNYTimes

Kids in Australia are spending more time online than watching TV. Research firm Roy Morgan reports that in 2016 six-13-year-olds spent an average of 12 hours a week online compared to 10.5 hours spent in front of the TV, the first time internet surpassed TV since the survey began in 2008. Online time has also almost doubled in the last eight years. The firm says, "The idea that TV is boring no matter what is on is just because TV is so static and it might have ads on it." (ABC

The current state of the White House has ignited Gen Z’s interest in politics—according to AwesomenessTV’s CEO, Brian Robbins. He reports that his own children’s newfound fascination with politics sparked by the recent election has inspired him to bring more political content to AwesomenessTV. Because “[a]n audience that really wasn't that interested is now really interested," the company will move away from “fluffy, horrible” entertainment news into political news, which could be in the form of documentaries, or scripted shows. (Business Insider)

Millennials are reporting higher rates of depression than any other generation, creating challenges at work. To avoid the stigma surrounding mental issues, young employees are increasingly resorting to using personal days to recuperate from anxiety, depression, and other afflictions. According to one expert, “this generation is not necessarily more depressed than workers of past generations, but more equipped to recognize it”—however, they fear judgement from their employers. (MarketWatch)  

Is Snap Inc. really a camera company? They say they are, and in their IPO filing the brand wrote, “In the way that the flashing cursor became the starting point for most products on desktop computers, we believe that the camera screen will be the starting point for most products on smartphones.” WeChat’s ability to read QR codes, Pinterest’s new visual search, and Facebook Messengers’ new visual capabilities all point to expanding capabilities of a camera—and the fact that “users’ experience of the world is increasingly mediated through cameras.” (The New Yorker)  

Quote of the Day: “I have a diamond wedding ring but any stone would be beautiful and appreciated.”—Female, 24, MN

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