Planking, the "Internet craze" that's not really an Internet craze, is now spawning copycat moves like "pillaring" and "teapotting." How long until the media gets sick of puffing up the fake meme they created?
More people than ever are planking—lying facedown, taking a picture and uploading it to Facebook. It's remarkable how the tragic death of a 20-year-old Australian kid who fell last weekend while planking on a balcony railing galvanized a stale meme into a global fascination, again. (Planking is a rehash of the 2006 craze the Lying Down Game.)
But there are signs we've reached the beginning of the end of the 2011 planking frenzy. Journalists are getting desperate in their attempts to cast planking as a Dangerous Social Problem: When newspapers reported that a second guy was nearly killed while planking on top of his car in Australia, police quickly denied it. He was actually just standing up.
Oh, so maybe this guy was "pillaring?" Pillaring—AKA standing up—is "the new planking," according to a few newspapers. Then there's "Teapotting"—standing up making a teapot shape with your arms. Teapotting is being billed as the "safe alternative" to planking by this New Zealand paper.
Except pillaring and teapotting are just Facebook pages which people started a day or two ago, got a few of their friends to "like," then were latched onto by a planking-crazed media trying to squeeze a few more days out of the internet thing of the moment. Ditto, the various local "Planking Associations," like the one featured in a Philadelphia TV news report. In fact the planking "craze" was a tiny Facebook page itself just a few months ago, before some Australian radio stations decided blow it up as a viral marketing campaign.
Media: This whole thing is a mirage of Facebook pages created on a whim by bored people at work! And you are covering this as some scary combination of extreme sport + drug trend + death cult. Let's get back to covering real internet crazes, like fake Twitter accounts about animals that escape from the zoo.