planking: the deathly pursuit of awesome? lame.

The word of the week: planking (Australia), or the lying down game (elsewhere).

What was a pointless craze has now become a life threatening pursuit of awesome in the eyes of the social media.

What is it?
Planking (the Lying Down Game) involves assuming a body position where you lie with your face down, palms flat against your side, and feet pointing down at the floor.

A person will take a photo of you assuming this position, which you will then post onto one of the dedicated Facebook groups or other social media like Twitter.

A planker’s pursuit of awesome is to plank in as unique or extreme a setting as possible. Google around and you can see the various types of places people have planked. One is below.

Gold Logie recipient Karl Stefanovic planks on the Today Show (You Planker!)

The Lying Down Game: a history
The craze began in 2000 when two English kids Gary Clarkson, then 15, and Christian Langdon, 12, performed the “Lying Down Game” in public places to the bemusement of onlookers.

In 2007, the pair created a Facebook group, and from there it spread worldwide. The Lying Down Game was described as “parkour for those that can’t be arsed”.

In 2009, the Lying Down Game made the media when a group of seven accident and emergency staff were suspended in the UK when they were photographed playing the game on resuscitation trolleys, ward floors and the hospital’s helipad.

Planking Australia is a rival Facebook group that started in 2008, and is responsible for this craze’s spread in Australia. Prior to the tragic news this week it had 8,500 members. At present there are close to 140,000. Compare this with the 110,000 members who joined the original Lying Down Games’ Facebook group.

This week’s news makers
The reason why planking has taken off is because of this recent news:

  • 10 May 2011 – a 20 year old man was charged with being found on “police establishment with no lawful excuse” after he planked on a police car.
  • 15 May 2011 – a 20 year old man dies after he plunged whilst attempting to plank on a railing.
  • 18 May 2011 – witnesses claim that a man attempted to plank on the boot of a moving sedan moments before he fell off. At the time of writing, the man remains in an induced coma.

Final message for the plankers
If you are considering planking, please do it safely and responsibly. It’s really not worth dying to be photographed in what already resembles a backwards death pose.

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4 responses to “planking: the deathly pursuit of awesome? lame.

  1. I actually found out about this planking business happening in Hong Kong shortly because it made headlines in Australia. In Hong Kong, ppl refer to it as PK (you know, like falling on the street) and it’s mainly used by people to express their dissatisfaction over something or a sign of protest against something. For instance, there are ppl who plank in front of government buildings and I think i saw one where some guy lay over the ticket machines at some subway station. When i saw those photos I laughed so hard so they were using the word “PK” so seriously but then after I read all the stuff happening in Australia, I realised that at least ppl in HK went about doing this stuff for a reason. So they werent as stupid as I thought they were. Seriously, some ppl in Aust just need to learn it the hard way (i guess in some instances they never learn since they die from it)

  2. That’s so interesting Cecilia, I’ve never heard of this PK phenomenon in Hong Kong. The whole thing is just a publicity gathering exercise whether it’s the PK in Hong Kong or anyone else in the world.

    And Sunny, make sure I don’t drunk plank next time, yeah?

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