By Ezinwanne Onwuka
Saying that social media has become an integral part of people’s lives and daily routines would not be an exaggeration, not in today’s world.
We might only be a month into 2021 but this year has already had some huge social media trends that has made most social media users spend a good part of their days scrolling through one social media application to the other.
These trends got most people addicted to their phones so much so that the first thing they do after waking up is to check their social media feeds.
Let’s take a look at the five trends that dominated social media last month, January 2021.
1. Charlie Charlie Game: The Charlie Charlie Challenge, otherwise known as the pencil game, has been around for some years before it stormed the internet in January. It is a question and answer game: you ask questions and “Charlie” answers either “yes” or “no”.
The game is simple: draw a grid on a piece of paper with a “yes” in the top right and bottom left hand corner, and a “no” in the remaining two. Balance one pencil on top of another in the shape of a cross, and ask something along the lines of “Charlie, Charlie can we play?” The pencils should then start moving.
If they go to “yes”, “Charlie” is ready and willing to answer your questions — put the pencil back, and use the same technique to get answers. If it’s a “no”, then you’ll have to come back later, or try again. At the end of the game, you are to ask, “Charlie, Charlie, can we stop?” and say goodbye when the demon says “yes”. For fun, film yourself doing this and share the video afterwards on social media.
Days after the trend started, social media was soon flooded with video clips of strange happenings that some participants of the game experienced after playing the game. This caused the game to be labeled ‘demonic’ and people were advised to desist from participating in the challenge. The general belief is that Charlie is a demon and those who hold this view cite this as the reason the pencil moves – the demon moves the pencils.
This is a misconception. The fact is that there is no demon who moves the pencils, rather gravity causes them to move. The arrangement of the pencils that the game requires means that they’ll always move, because it’s just not a natural position for them to be in. the pencils have to be so finely balanced on top of each other that even the slightest movement from a breath or slightly tilted surface will push it around.
It’s possible that some people experienced strange things after playing the game. But it’s equally likely that after playing the game, the brain gets itself into a state that makes it extra fearful. That’s the same thing that makes people more likely to hear strange noises when they’re on their own or in the dark.
In both of those situations, people are genuinely more in danger — so the brain think itself into a special fight or flight state that makes it extra-vigilant to noises, so that those dangers can be avoided.
You might ask: if Charlie is not a demon, who is he? As with most myths, the actual fact of who Charlie is seems to vary depending on who’s telling it. Some claim it is a child that took his own life, others say it is a demonic Mexican man. However, the only way to really find out who he is for sure is to play the game and ask him (winks).
2. Stingy Men Association of Nigeria (SMAN): SMAN was created as a form of revolt from men who have had enough of giving their hard-earned money to their female counterparts who are in the habit of always seeking financial help. Since it began to trend online, many Nigerian men have shown their interest in the association, with many sharing their identity cards and others asking how they can become bonafide members. The motto of the association is “let me see what I can do.”
Judging from their motto, it is obvious that men who are members of this association will always find one excuse or the other to give whenever someone, especially a woman, asks them for financial support.
Although the trend started with just a few social media users, it soon gathered momentum with several notable male personalities in the entertainment industry using their influence to amplify the existence of the association.
As if that is not enough, some of these celebrities have also made known their membership of the group while sharing their identity cards on their social media platforms. SMAN, which already has registered social media handles with thousands of followers, describe themselves as an “online fun gathering of the great men of our country who spend wisely, making sure that every Kobo is being accounted for.” There is no official procedure to become a member of SMAN, all that is required of you is to download the ID card template, edit it and add your name and a photo.
3. Stingy Women Association of Nigeria (SWAN): In reaction to the emergence of Stingy Men Association of Nigeria (SMAN), the women came up with Stingy Women Association of Nigeria (SWAN). It can be said that SWAN was created to challenge SMAN. Thus, it is the rival association of SMAN. SWAN is an association of women who would rather not give in to the demands of the male folks for sex.
This informed the choice of their motto: “Do not open”. This simply means “no money, no sex.” Backing the association across social media, just as it is with SMAN, are Nigerian women celebrities of all ages, including the media personality, Toke Makinwa. There is, also, no official procedure of becoming a member of SWAN, all you need to do is to download the ID card template, edit it and add your name with your photo.
4. Buss It Challenge: The Buss It challenge started on TikTok but spread to every social media platform like a wildfire and like all social media trends, everyone went crazy about it. Social media users got in on the trend and shared their amazing transformations.
As more and more people began to show off their “glow up” with the challenge, it became increasingly popular, catching on with celebrities and social media influencers.
Buss It is simple and fun to pull off. It just takes two different outfits, some video editing knowledge, and twerking skills (you don’t really have to be a pro at dancing, though).
The challenge starts with the participants in their regular day-to-day clothes with a messy hair and no make-up as Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” plays. Once the beat drops, he/she says, “I think my butt is getting big” which signals a transition. As soon as the song after which the challenge was named – Buss It by Erica Bank’s starts to play, the participants comes up all dressed up, showing off their outfits as well as their twerking skills.
The Buss It challenge inspired people of all shapes and sizes to check themselves out and celebrate their bodies, especially, the backside (winks).
5. Silhouette Challenge: The Silhouette Challenge is yet another social media trend that has keept people busy online. It is the latest viral trend that has completely taken over social media. The hashtag #silhouettechallenge has amassed almost 146 million views as at the time of writing. It’s not known who first started the trend but it took over social media by storm in a couple of days.
The challenge involves posing in a doorway before turning yourself into a black silhouette against a red background. It combines the popular transition trend that has taken over TikTok in the past year, but adds a little twist, using filters and colours to enhance the transition. Using lighting, filters, bathroom doorframes and editing apps to appear backlit, ladies show off every curve of their bodies.
One of the most important part of the challenge is the song, which really adds to the seductive nature of the video. The silhouette challenge starts with “Put Your Head on my Shoulder” by Paul Anka and changes into “Streets” by Doja Cat.
It won’t be an understatement to say that the year, 2021 started on a hot and fun note. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for more amazing social media trends in the remaining days of 2021.