What is the 'Florida man' challenge and why is it trending online?
A welcome to Florida sign is seen in this image from Google Maps.
Published Friday, March 22, 2019 9:06AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 22, 2019 9:57AM EDT
A glut of bizarre stories from the Sunshine State has helped “Florida man” become the latest challenge sweeping social media.
The game sees players Google “Florida man” and their birthday, without the year, to see what headline appears at the top of their search results.
This writer, whose birthday is December 3, got this result: “Man, 85, attacked by alligator at Florida retirement community.”
Social media users have been circulating the game after a tweet on March 19 went viral.
“Everybody Google ‘Florida man’ followed by your birthday (Florida man August 22) and tell me what you get. Mine is ‘Florida man tries to attack neighbor with tractor,’” wrote Twitter user G Pratimaa.
She later clarified she was inspired by @gandalfsoda on social networking site Tumblr.
Celebrities including John Legend have also shared their results on Twitter.
The “All of Me” singer posted a screenshot with the headline “Florida man drops stolen TV from getaway scooter.”
Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan retweeted a screengrab too, writing: “Florida man’s penis shot could land him in jail.”
Rapper 50 Cent revealed his result to be: “Florida man says organized, aggressive monkeys swarming property.”
Theories abound as to why there are so many crazy crime stories from Florida.
According to writer Jessica Misener, who grew up in Florida, the state’s Sunshine Law gives “very” open access to public records making it easier for journalists to report.
“On my county’s website, for example, you can see everyone who was arrested in the past 24 hours with a click of a button. Mug shots, full names, charges, everything,” she tweeted.
Other theories from Twitter users include the state’s year-round hot weather or its methamphetamine problem, while some blamed the alligators.
Another claimed it was a “data mining scam.”
But one thing is clear, Sunshine State newspapers are reaping plenty of new page views via old Florida man stories.