Planking takes over Kent State University


Photo by Matt Hafley.

Karen Holcomb

Lying down is not what it used to be. It’s the latest fad. People everywhere are planking.

It was first invented in 1997 but became better known July 10, 2009. Sky News out of London broadcasted a story on what was first called the lying down game. That day a British newspaper and an Australian newspaper ran stories on “the lying down game.”

To play the game one must lie face down with arms held straight at the sides of the body. In order for it to be successful, the player must get a photo of the lie down and post it online.

Englishmen Gary Clarkson and Christian Langdon invented the lying down game, and on the official website,, people can post their lying down photos and play for prizes.

In an article in “The Guardian,” Clarkson said, “It was just a really stupid, random thing to do.”

“I had never heard of planking until this summer,” sophomore fashion merchandising major Shelby McMillin said. “I don’t see the comedy in it.”

As the lying down game progressed it took on the name of planking in Australia.

Seemingly harmless, planking has caused one death. A 20-year-old Australian fell seven stories while planking from the balcony of his building in May 2011.

“I’ve never planked,” sophomore visual communication design major Marissa Hackett said. “I think it’s dumb and can be dangerous because I heard of people falling off buildings trying to do it.”

McMillin said she thinks it is pretty interesting to see where people are able to plank.

“I’ve seen some pictures online of people planking across basketball hoops and stuff,” McMillin said. “Some of my friends on Facebook have pictures of them planking.”

Kevin Konieczny, junior political science major, said he’s never planked before.

“I think most of the time it’s dumb, but every once in awhile someone surprises me on how they do it,” Konieczny said. “I wouldn’t waste my time doing it, though.”

Since planking has taken off, new trends have also been created.

A Washington Post blog recently asked if owling is the new planking.

Much like planking, one must get into a certain position and take a photo to be successful at owling. Owling is when a person “crouches like an owl.”

“I think it’s pretty stupid,” Kara Kozikowski, junior international relations major said. “And it’s crazy to see how fast trends like these can grow.”

Planking and owling have also spawned the trends of cone-ing and horsemaning. Justin Bieber has even been known to get his cone on.

“These trends are so weird,” McMillin said. “People must be pretty bored.”

Contact Karen Holcomb at [email protected].