February 7, 2014 7:58 pm

Online drinking game ‘neknominations’ inspiring Canadians to pay it forward

Watch the video above: Feed the Deed tries to do something good with neknominations. Carey Marsden reports. 

TORONTO – A controversial online drinking game, which has been deadly in some cases, has inspired some in Canada to do something good.

Neknominations originated in Australia as an online challenge. In order to ‘play,’ a person has to record a video of them doing something, then drinking some alcohol and challenging someone else to do something similar within 24 hours.

The online game quickly became popular as hundreds of people uploaded videos of themselves to Facebook and Twitter.

But some have flipped the game on its head and used neknominations to do something good. Rather than drink, people are ‘paying it forward’ and challenging others to follow suit.

Russell Citron watched a video of a South African man who chose to give a homeless person food rather than the traditional neknomination. That video, which has been viewed over 310,000 times, inspired him to do the same.

WATCH: The original video that inspired people to think twice about their neknominations

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His friend Josh Stern also saw the video. They called each other and decided to use Citron’s not-for-profit Kindness Counts to organize the initiative which they dubbed “Feed the Deed.”

“My first thought was what an unbelievable initiative that would be to run with Kindness Counts,” Citron said.

His not-for-profit tries to “inspire acts of kindness in creative ways.” So Feed the Deed fit in well. Like Neknominations, people record videos of themselves, but instead of drinking, they’re committing an act of kindness. They then nominate five other people and share the video online and on Twitter with the hashtag #FeedtheDeed.

“10 steps down the road, and nominating five people every time, you’ve nominated 1,000 different acts of kindness,” Citron said.

Jonathan Sherman, a friend of Russell and Josh, said in an email Friday that Neknominations are “dangerous, embarrassing, and feature all the factors of a classic peer pressure situation.”

“People have been so concerned with ‘one-upping’ each other that the craze has resulted in numerous deaths around the world,” he wrote. “I think it’s simple: when a concept gets to the point where people are taking deadly risks just to impress their friends, you have some major problems.”

And Feed the Deed seems to be catching on. In just a few days since launch, there’s been 40 videos that have reached close to 120,000 allegations, Sherman said.

In the latest video, Facebook user Adam Daniel uploaded a video of him buying a chocolate bar for the next person to enter the study room he is in. He leaves a note and nominates others.

And another video posted on the Facebook page by Libby Landenberg in London, England shows her giving chocolate bars to random people.

“I thought I’d bring ‘Feed the Deed’ to London, so we’re going to give Kit Kats to people,” she says at the start of the video.

But they aren’t the only ones who’ve seen a problem with Neknominations and tried to do something different.

Some students at Mount Saint Vincent University are also committing random acts of kindness, filming them and sharing them. The only difference? They’re calling it a “raknomination.”

- With files from Carey Marsden

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