If you go online right now, you are likely to see at least one photo challenge in your news feed. The lockdown has dragged plenty of people online, where they are challenging each other to post all kinds of photos on their social media. From ‘sari’ challenge of the ladies to ‘daura suruwal’ challenge of the gentlemen, people have found all kinds of ways to kill time.
During the first week of the lockdown, people dug out their friends’ old photos on Facebook and commented on them. This became a viral trend. People enjoyed seeing old pictures of friends and families with funny poses. “My timeline was filled with news of coronavirus and death of people. I wanted something happier on my timeline. Things got going when I commented on my friend’s old pictures and they in turn commented on mine,” says Sumikchya Shakya, a 19-year-old student.
After this, photo challenges stormed the social media. Sari and Bakkhu challenges were the first ones to hit Facebook. Instead of criticizing, people made fun of each other. “Let’s grow together. With all the negativity going around, let’s do something positive,” went a common refrain for the challenge.
“I find these challenges productive as I get to connect with my old school buddies. It has been harsh days for all of us. But with these challenges on social media, it became a way to escape the frightful situation,” says Mandira Vaidya Shrestha, 32, team manager at HLE Nepal.
Offline Thinker, a community platform for readers and writers, has come up with seven-day home photography challenge to make self-quarantine more meaningful. Here, you challenge your friends to click and post seven photos on seven different themes. They nominate a new friend every day. Susan Chaudhary, co-founder of Offline Thinker, says: “The seven-day home photography challenge is getting positive response. It is impactful as well. We are also coming up with more writing, reading, and gaming challenges. We encourage everyone to better utilize their time and energy.”
There is also a new challenge for photographers named Quarantine Days. The goal is to fill news feed with positive photos. One starts by uploading a photo with no caption. Sohel Maharjan, a photographer, says: “A friend passed on this challenge to me. I liked the idea as my own newsfeed was filled with horrific pandemic news. I too have nominated my friends for this challenge. The goal is to spread positivity.”
“These types of challenges help with stress management. Due to lockdown, we have lots of free time. We have time to go through our old photo albums as well as to connect with our friends and relatives through social media,” says psychologist Gopal Dhakal.
Perhaps the idea of people looking to keep themselves happy through these indulgences may seem inappropriate as thousands of people continue to die around the world from the novel coronavirus. But as Dhakal suggests, these innocuous social media challenge help people cope with their stress. After all, the last thing the country needs right now is legions of people coming down with new mental health problems.