Year in Review: The Evolution of the "Challenge"

We're getting close to wrapping up the 2016 year, and while the year was full of ups and downs, wins and losses, we know that challenges are essential for growth. Fortunately, this year some of the challenges were fun and brought diverse groups of people together. But where do social media challenges originate? We've got some ideas.PlankingplankingCirca 2010 (and likely even before), planking, though not explicitly dubbed a "challenge" essentially was - with people planking in more and more outrageous areas as the trend spread worldwide. This could be considered the beginning of viral "challenges."The Harlem Shake[embed][/embed]Baauer's track, "The Harlem Shake," gained notoriety and worldwide fame when in early 2013 people around the world began using it as the track for outrageous videos. The videos would show large groups of people in normal settings - until the drop - when suddenly the scene cuts and the viewer sees that same group of people doing absurd "Harlem Shaking." Though not dubbed a challenge, it was evident those uploading videos were seeing how unique and startling they could be.The Ice Bucket Challenge[embed][/embed]Otherwise known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, this could very well be the beginning of the official viral challenge. The ALS Association started using influencers and celebrities to kick-off a challenge that involved dumping a bucket of cold water over the participant and then challenging a friend to do the same. All to raise awareness for ALS. Not only was it for a good cause, but it was a perfect first example of using influencers, celebrities, and social media to spread the word.Cut to 2015 and 2016, "challenges" are commonplace and come and go with the tide. From this year's "Running Man Challenge," "Kylie Jenner Challenge," "So Gone Challenge," "Mannequin Challenge," and more, these trends gain traction and are quickly replaced by something new. Though that definitely doesn't mean they aren't fun while they last. Check out YouTube's 2016 Ultimate Rewind Challenge and reminisce.We can't wait to see what 2017 has in store!