The time has finally come to swipe through the emoji keyboard and pull out the broom emoji. Yet another challenge has taken hold of the internet — one more absurd than any of the ones that have come before it. Remember how The Dress rocked our worlds and challenged us to literally see things in a different way? We won't go into specifics now: whether or not you saw a blue and black dress or a white and gold dress is between you and God. (It was 100% blue and black.)
The #BroomstickChallenge ravaged Twitter on Monday night, where a long-debunked hoax claimed that Venus and Jupiter's unique positioning did something to the gravitational pull. And according to Twitter, that something made broomsticks stand upright. The original video has 6.2 million views and #broomstickchallenge soared to the top of Twitter's trends.
Then the internet did that weird and terrifying and fascinating thing it sometimes does: it jumped on the trend and suddenly, it felt like everyone was conducting this third-grade science experiment. We tried it here at Refinery29's offices, yesterday February 11th (a full day after the alleged effects of the aligned planets is supposed to wear off) and the hardest part was honestly locating the broom.
If anything, the mad rush to copy or weigh in on these seemingly random internet trends reveal how emotionally connected we are to our feeds. We're vulnerable when we scroll. A tweet that cites the right sources and a call to action can get us to drop our phones and rabidly pursue anything, as long as it's called a "challenge." Some brooms stood and others didn't. Dreams were crushed while others thrived.
It's hard to think of anything more un-challenging than playing with a household item to see if you can get it to stand upright. The hard part isn't getting your broom to stand upright, though. The real challenge comes from having to accept you live in a world where a dress can be both blue-black and white-gold, where the words "Yanny" and "Laurel" sound exactly the same but also nothing alike, and where brooms stand upright only some of the time.
Meanwhile, on Tiktok, the #broomchallenge has racked up close to 60 million views. Tiktokers, it would seem, are slightly less enthused about playing with brooms, but still jumped on the bandwagon with all the jokes and irony they could muster. And DJ Khaled, still trying to return to his Snapchat glory days, showed us his broom and said the word, "theory" about 600 times.
If the broom challenge lit your family group chat on fire and made you get up your feet to locate your broom and balance it on its brushes, I am sorry to tell you, you've been had. This isn't the first time someone sparked a flurry by misquoting NASA. Wired even did us the courtesy of doing the math back in 2012.
I checked Co-Star because, while I do think the Earth's gravitational pull isn't so easily swayed by the planets, we humans are a different story. We're building up to a Mercury retrograde, a time of crossed wired and frustrating snafus. No matter what you think about astrology, it's still likelier to impact your life than some misquoted trivia.