Are We Wasting Our Time With Facebook Challenge Trends?

By Rachel Chen, Opinions Columnist

Following the massive success of this summer’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, an array of new Facebook challenge trends began flooding my newsfeed, including the Three-Day Gratefulness Challenge, Ten Book Challenge, Friendship Challenge and Five Beautiful Picture Challenge. You may not hear them by these specific names, but nonetheless, these challenges keep popping up in the Facebook cyber-world. That, however, is not what Facebook is made for. Facebook is supposed to be a social media platform, not a challenge media source. This begs the question then, has Facebook finally reached its peak? Are we so tired and bored of each others’ new profile pictures and #foodporn that we have to create these challenges to entertain us on a daily basis? Better yet, have we, the Facebook users of the world, conformed to the idea of following trends for the sake of the fact that they are trends rather than considering the implications of our actions? This question has particularly come up in connection with the ice bucket challenge, which, came with an immense amount of controversy as to whether or not it was actually serving its purpose.

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Photo Courtesy of Maria Elena

Many are likely to argue the former, in which they may believe that we have become so pathetic as to run out of things to do on Facebook, henceforth coming up with yet another new form of entertainment to hold our attention span for the time being. I am inclined to believe the latter however, as I do believe there is some merit behind challenging individuals to take a second to reflect on aspects of their lives they would not normally have on a daily basis.

The Gratefulness Challenge for instance, where an individual is asked to list three things that he or she is thankful for for three consecutive days in that point in their lives, is a great example of this. In a world where innocent people’s lives are being put in danger everyday or being taken away completely, we often overlook the little things we have in life. We forget to appreciate the privileges of having a roof over our heads, clothes on our back, and an education for our future. Still not convinced? There is actually proof backed that taking the simple act of logging what you are thankful for actually increases your level of happiness.

The Ten-Day Book Challenge that urges individuals to list their favorite ten books, holds undeniable value for participants, getting them to look back on the books that captivated their attentions and inspired their lives. With all the different forms of technology quickly dominating our generation (and our wallets), the sanctity of the written word is really becoming of much lesser value than it deserves. Perhaps this challenge will motivate Facebook users to finally pick up that book that they put on their back burners long ago.

The Friendship Challenge, a Facebook challenge that invites individuals to ask their friends to recall memories about their histories (e.g. where they first met, their first impressions, their most hilarious stories, etc.), may also be commonly seen as a waste of time. While critics may argue that their time could be better spent elsewhere, I for one however, enjoy the warm and fuzzy feelings the challenge produces. When close friends of mine recount the time in which we did something ridiculously silly together, I smile, even if just for a brief few seconds. One of the greatest things about life is that, more often than not, we all perceive situations differently. At times, this can really make for entertaining answers to personal questions such as, “What was your first impression of me?”

Last but not least, I have also recently come across the self-explanatory “Post 5 Pictures That Make You Feel Beautiful” challenge on Facebook. This challenge, is more of a self-assessment of one’s confidence than anything else, an assessment which many find more challenging than they originally imagined. By taking the simple steps to find pictures that make you feel beautiful, the challenge can raise your confidence and self-image. This can help participants market themselves in class, in friendships, and in job interviews.

These Facebook trends are titled “challenges” for a reason. They help us look back at our lives and reminisce about things that we otherwise would not take time out of our daily lives to do. They let us remember the things that have made us who we are. Facebook has not become too boring for us; rather, it has developed in a way that allows us to be a better version of ourselves—people that reconnect with our pasts, friends and hobbies. It has become a social media that goes beyond gossip and people stalking. Facebook is not coming to an end; instead, it is asking its users deeper questions in life.

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