10-year challenge: What is the viral craze on Instagram, and how can you take part?

Celebrities including Reese Witherspoon, Miley Cyrus and Tyra Banks have taken part in the meme

Sarah Young
Thursday 17 January 2019 10:45
10-year-challege: Facebook accused of using meme to mine user data

In recent years social media has been dominated by viral challenges that have seen people take part in a range of outlandish tasks, from ingesting teaspoons of spicy cinnamon to pouring sub-zero buckets of ice over their heads.

Now though, there’s a new viral sensation that’s sweeping across everyone’s Twitter and Instagram.

While hashtags such as #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday are habitually used on social media – the former boasts 45m posts on Instagram and the latter has 13m – in the last few days people have been sharing old photos of themselves for a different reason.

Enter the 10-year challenge. But, what is it, and how can you take part?

Here's everything you need to know.

What is the 10 Year Challenge?

If you use social media, you’ve probably noticed a number of people posting then-and-now profile pictures.

It’s a trend that’s best known as the 10 Year Challenge but is also going by a number of different names, including the “glow-up challenge”, "2009 vs 2019" or "How Hard Did Aging Hit You".

The craze involves people comparing pictures of themselves in 2009 to ones taken in 2019 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Currently, "#10YearChallenge" has 1.6m posts on Instagram, “#GlowUpChallenge” has more than 60,000, while "#2009vs2019" has 113,000 and "#HowHardDidAgingHitYou" boasts 58,000.

When and why did it start?

As with most social media challenges, it is a little unclear as to who or what started the movement.

While some suggest it has something to do with Facebook’s "Memories" feature that reminds you of long-forgotten photos, others suspect it is because 2009 was the year that social media really took off.

According to Mashable, 2009 proved a breakout year for Facebook, adding over 200m new users and raising in excess of $200m (£155), while Twitter finished the year with 18m users, representing 3.8 per cent of adult Internet users.

How can you take part?

Participating in the challenge is fairly easy. All you need to know is share two-side-by-side photographs of yourself ten years apart; one from 2009 and one from 2019.

You can do this by downloading a collage app, such as Pic Collage, that will let you merge multiple images into one.

When your side-by-side photo is ready, simply post it to your social media channel of choice with the hashtag #10YearChallenge.

Alternatively, you can choose to just post a single throwback image.

Which celebrities are getting involved?

The viral movement has proved popular among A-listers with everyone from Reese Witherspoon and Miley Cyrus to Tyra Banks and Jessica Biel taking part.

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