If you find that a lot of your Facebook friends are sporting an adorable giraffe as a profile picture, it’s because they failed to answer the following riddle:
“3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors. It’s your parents and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?”
Friends are encouraged to send in their answers to the update poster via private message (don’t be a spoil sport by commenting with the answer publicly!). If they are correct, they will be acknowledged via comment tag. If they are wrong, they have to update their profile photo, keep it on for 24 hours, and re-post the riddle on their own Timelines.
While Cartoon Network had an event page dubbing the fourth week of November as the official “Choose a Cartoon Character as Your Profile Picture for a Week” Week, this trend was transformed and taken over by social networks, turning it into a campaign against child abuse.
Both of these are examples of pictivism, where users post profile or other pictures in support of some type of cause. A few other notable examples were when women posted their bra sizes or colors during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to confuse people make people more aware of the disease. And of course, this past March we saw users change their profile photos en masse to the red equal sign, in support of marriage equality. There’s been much debate over whether this type of activism (or slacktivism, as many have labeled it) can make an actual impact, though it certainly rallies attention.
While most pictivism campaigns support have some philanthropic or awareness-raising focus at their centers, it doesn’t look like the giraffe Facebook riddle has a specific or official purpose – other than to promote fun and giraffes.
And yes, while you can certainly look up the answer (all I had to type into Google is giraffe and it generated search queries like “giraffe riddle” and “giraffe challenge”) and send it in to your pals participating in the challenge, a little part of you will always know what a lying liar you are.