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The art of dares in social media: A currency of Likes & Retweets

Hot Pockets are packed with premium ingredients.
Hot Pockets are packed with premium ingredients.
Nestle's Hot Pockets are packed with premium ingredients.

Kids today. They just demand so much attention. Back in the day, fame was forecasted as something we'd all go through for 15 minutes. But that time has come and gone. Today, fame is measured by Likes on FaceBook, Retweets on Twitter, Hearts on InstaGram and Smiley Faces on Vine. This is the currency of our kids today: Getting themselves out in the world digitally, not face-to-face, but virally into the Zeitgeist of social media. Lately, going viral is now especially trumped when virility is showcased.

A phenomenon that is crass, sexual, bizarre, stupid, and to some, entertaining and funny, has been emerging over the past year: sexual challenges on social media. One of the most recent digital dares comes from a teenager known as VERSACEPOPTARTS, who kicked off his own social media frenzy by tweeting a photo of himself fornicating a box of Pop Tarts. The internet can be searched to find photographic evidence of VERSACEPOPTARTS holding the victimized box. It's a tame, cheeky image, but the text that accompanied his proclamation was lurid. There is no further news to report on the savage attack, like whether the foil on the tarts was compromised during the assault. It just seems like a terrible waste of toaster pastries. Brown sugar cinnamon flavored, no less.

Provoked, encouraged and emboldened by his leap from what should have been ignominy to notoriety and celebrity du jour, VERSACEPOPTARTS followed up his brazen act with an indecent dare: If he saw enough Retweets (or RTs in the vernacular of the Twitterverse) of his message (420 to be exact), he would penetrate a Hot Pocket sexually and post the video of the lewd act on Vine, the social media platform that allows users to share 6.5 seconds of video with the adoring public. To make the dare even juicer, he made specific mention that he would commit this heinous food sex crime "after I heat it up." Presumably he meant the Hot Pocket. Of course, because the world is crazy for crazy stuff and cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, his challenge was swiftly met. The video is only 6.5 seconds long, but it's sure to last a few more days on the viral hit parade. It is also merely coincidental that Hot Pockets were recently recalled for containing tainted meat. The perpetrator's cleverest triumph was his follow-up Tweet: "You can suspend my vine but you can’t change the fact I f---ed a hot pocket." One can't link to his Twitter or Vine handle anymore because his accounts were suspended: Turns out when you violate Hot Pockets, you also violate Twitter's and Vine's terms of service. The fellow was on a roll, so to speak, posting just before his Vine account was terminated that he would go all the way with a rotisserie chicken in exchange for 200 Retweets. Mixing social media services and borderline bestiality to accomplish his diabolical goals -- he has proven himself to be a true mega-star among those daring fools who seek giga-glory -- even if it causes scars. No doubt VERSACEPOPTARTS will graduate to perform on MTV's Jackass. For now, he works as a chef at a restaurant in New Hampshire, one that hopefully does not serve Hot Pockets.

Perhaps the most creative challenge in recent cyber-history came from pornographic star, Christy Mack, who offered oral services to whoever built her "the coolest LEGO creation." Legal eagles quickly swooped in and descended on her promotion, which forced her to retract the most generous offer. Word spread that the deal was off, despite many impressive Lego creations that were sent to her. Perhaps the crowning moment came when she Tweeted that, "People are calling this 'brilliant self-marketing.' I'm calling it 'I'm just a whore that likes Legos.'"

These two recent incidences are clear escalations of the trend that started in the Summer of 2013 when college kids took to streaking onto the fields during sporting events, if they got sufficient Likes or RTs. It is a strange currency when one considers that the fine for disrupting a sporting event in some venues is as much as $1500. A selfie taken from the grandstand with the field in the background is much cheaper, but where's the thrill in that?

This is not at all endemic of the United States. A Norwegian man got his avowed celibate girlfriend to do the deed with him if he could get 1 million Likes on Facebook. A few hours later, she lost her virginity.

Ah, we long for the days when a little girl posted on FaceBook that her dad promised her a puppy if she got 1 million Likes. Indeed, as the internet currency of Likes and RTs go up in value, it appears our moral dignity goes down in value. It is a sad price to pay, especially in light of how social media services charge their advertisers on the presumptuous and questionable analytics that are based on this most dubious currency. By the way, please Like this article.

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