My Nikkel's Worth

I hate to sound like a Luddite, or a dinosaur, but it is my view that sometimes the so-called "social media" is good for nothing more than promoting the latest fad.

In fact, the social media (a.k.a. Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc.) is actually quite talented at promoting fads, almost to the exclusion of anything else. In some cases, it's not a bad thing: take for example that 10-year-old girl in Winnipeg who put a video up on YouTube of herself singing a Lady Gaga song.

She has such a natural talent and spirit, it came through readily in the video, and Lady Gaga herself saw it and loved the girl's performance so much she had the girl join her up on stage at one of her concerts, and they sang the song that attracted so much attention on the Internet.

Although it sounds somewhat sick (so sick, it's phat ), the video went "viral" - which is to say, the hits on the ''Net were in the millions as people on computers around the world had to click on to see it.

Thus it is that a stupid fad started up in Australia may actually end up being a fad here, on the other side of the world, not to mention anywhere else where you get the Internet. I refer to the new fad of "planking".

If you've never heard of it or seen it, the word "stupid" hardly begins to describe how colossally dumb it really is.

The basic concept of planking is to lie face-down on literally anything, anywhere, and well, you act like a plank of wood. A news item on this fad that I saw on CTV News proceeded to show people "planking": a girl up on a basketball net, a guy on a counter in a store, a daytime TV host in Australia "planking" on the back of a couch on her set, a guy doing it on the back of a moving truck you get the picture, right? (If you don't believe me, Google it and see what comes up.)

Well, here's the height of dumbness, prompting the Prime Minister of Australia to make a public plea for people to use common sense. A man on the seventh floor of an apartment building got drunk, and decided to try "planking" on his balcony; the plank-man fell, and was killed.

The fad was further promulgated by the police when a man "planked" on a police car, and was then arrested. Apparently, a man was also severely injured when he fell off a moving car while "planking" - but there, the police dispute whether this man was making like a board.

For myself, I fail to see the attraction of this fad, except as a way for someone to get on the World Wide Web; I happen to agree with CTV host Lisa LaFlamme, who commented at the conclusion of this piece, "I'm blanking on planking."

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