Chinese social media users have been “pretending to fly” by creating the illusion they’re on a plane using a detergent bottle and a photo on their phone. If you’re on a budget, this trick could help you pretend that you’re off travelling to an exotic place.
Travel photos do quite well on social media. On Instagram, dedicated travel accounts get a lot of attention, and they can even bring in a lot of money. For example, Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen make $9000 per photo they post of their travels. This is because many social media users dream of a life of travel, adventure, and beautiful scenery. The rise of the “pretending to fly” challenge, while quite funny, shows how much we long for a life of travel.
The illusion is created using a travel photo or video framed in something plastic that resembles an airplane window. This could be the handle of a detergent bottle, a toilet seat, or even the gaps between the legs of stools—as long as they’re white and plastic. The videos of these challenges show that the illusion is quite convincing, and it’s only when the camera pulls away that we realize the window is indeed false. The challenge went viral on Weibo, a Chinese social media network, during the Lunar New Year. The videos earned about 27 million views during the holiday.
The viral trend has also revealed how false social media can actually be. If creating the illusion hadn't been made into a funny viral trend, people could’ve easily continued to fool social media users into believing that they are indeed on a flight to somewhere far away. It just goes to show that if someone is creative enough, anything can be faked on social media. In this case, the creative use of props and camera angles fooled people believing in the travel videos posted online.
While the video or photo isn't true, their creators can use them to dream of the travel they want so much. It seems just a little bit more real, so the dream doesn’t seem so far away. Perhaps one day, with enough hard work, luck, and dreaming, they can take an actual photo out of an airplane window.