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Neck and Nominate: What's going on?


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They say there are two things guaranteed in life: death and taxes. But it's probably safe to say that we can now add internet crazes to the list. Neck and Nominate, taking over social media since last week, is the newest and quite possibly stupidest to join the party. 

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past several days then you’ll know exactly what Neck and Nominate, but here is a quick recap anyway. You are nominated by someone (who has already been nominated) to down a pint in one go. Obviously, the pint must contain alcohol.  Instead of keeping it nice and simple many nominates often spice things up and make their pint dirty adding things like dog food, fairy liquid, raw eggs, cigarettes and some go to the complete extreme with some adding pubic hair, faeces and even WD40.

You must also be recording yourself the entire time, starting with an introduction of who you are and who nominated you. Then once you’ve completed the act of necking your drink you then get to nominate two people of your choosing, and the trend continues.

Neck and Nominate videos have been clogging up people’s Facebook timelines. Here is just one example...  

Predictably, Neck and Nominate has been described as just banter amongst friends. But obviously it highlights, amongst several other issues, the effects of peer pressure.  While watching these videos I couldn’t help but notice no one actually enjoyed their pint and had only downed it because they were told to by their friends.  So instead of making an assumption I spoke to some ‘nominees’ to see if they felt pressured into it or it was just a bit of said banter.

Owen O’Neil, a 17 year old from Craigavon, N.Ireland, whose pint consisted of egg, onion, tuna, sweetcorn, biscuit, milk, butter, sugar, salt and a energy drink feels there is no peer pressure involved and it’s just a bit of funwith his friends, even saying that he would do it again if he was nominated but take it to the next level: “[I] would do worse than before.”

Bobby Fields, from Armagh, N.Ireland, whose pint consisted of Magners Cider, yogurt, biscuits, jam, milk, protein and diluted juice, felt the same way about it not being a case of peer pressure.  Bobby said he carried out his for the fun of it, but “wouldn’t drink two bottles of Buckfast or vodka or something like that. It's pure stupid.” 

However Luke Sweetman, a 21-year-old student from Hastings, who drank a pint that included Special Brew, Frosty Jacks, Old Strongbow, Guinness, Ready Break and an egg felt there was peer pressure in these nominations:  “I did think there was some peer pressure to do it, if I hadn't done it I would have got some stick”

The one thing that was consistent talking to these guys was that they said one of the main reasons they done this was because they wanted to pass it onto their friends so they would ‘suffer’ as well. Even if they don’t see it, it’s evident that peer pressure is the main reason that this game has spread like it has.

As you can imagine when you drink a high volume of alcohol, and whatever else you decide to add, there will be dangerous consequences.  Over the weekend it was reported that two deaths in Ireland are being linked to Neck and Nominate: a 19-year-old and a 22-year-old were found dead after they apparently carried out their nominations. This has led to a backlash amongst the public and others who have been ‘nominated’.

Some have taken a more proactive stand against it. One Facebook user, Brendan Moran, saw his status go viral after he posted his response to his nomination saying:

“Hey guys! So I was nominated earlier by a friend to do a necknominate challenge and I thought about it for a while and I've decided that someone needs to break this cycle. So far two people have died and I'm sure many other people have been injured as a result of this craze so I'm just not comfortable knowing that I'd be promoting something that's already left two families destraught. Sure, a lot of people are saying it's only a bit of craic and a few people have urged me not to be "that guy" who breaks the cycle, but the reality is, that even though a majority of people do harmless enough challenges, there are still two people dead as a result of the necknominations. I've seen people posting things saying it's only a bit of fun and asking why should we stop because a few people bring it too far, but that's exactly the reason we should stop. Ask yourself how you'd feel if your friend or family member died because of a necknomination. Someone had to have nominated the people who went too far, mainly due to peer pressure, and I'm just not comfortable knowing that, if someone else dies, it could be indirectly linked to me through nominations... So anyway, my thoughts and prayers go out to the devastated families of those who died, and say what you want about how I'm so "dry" and can't handle "a bit of craic" but I'm out.”

Brendan is not alone, with other nominees refusing to take part in the drinking game. In the past two days many people have posted up their nomination videos slamming this act and created their own craze of not carrying out their nomination. 

Two Facebook users, Ashely Abernethie and Eoin Healy, posted up their video nominations informing people of why they weren’t participating. You can view Eoin's video here and Ashley's below:

With the news of two possible deaths as a result of this game, and obvious other flaws, Drinkaware’s medical advisor weighted in stating it has a ripple effect on more than just your liver:

“Quite apart from the risk of accident or injury as a result of drinking to excess, there is another aspect to these online drinking games which is the “cybershame” some young people may experience. Drinkaware research shows nearly half (47 per cent) of 18-24 year olds admitted un-tagging drunk photos of themselves that they didn’t want others to see. However there is still a chance that these photos may be seen by universities and prospective employers. So while it may seem like a lot of fun at the time, the range of negative consequences are no laughing matter.”

Now, to end this on a feel good note, there are a few heart-warming stories to share. Instead of nominating people to drink a dirty pint people are flipping this on its head and nominating people to do something nice for others.  A South African man posted his neck and nomination in what he called the South African way, giving a homeless man a meal:

In Ireland, where Neck and Nominate has really taken hold, Jessica Supple has created a new type of nomination called ‘Random Act of Kindness’ - watch her video here.

Let's hope there is more of this as a result of Neck and Nominate, rather than more tragedy.

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