The COVID-19 pandemic quarantine has changed a lot of our routines, to be sure. But there’s one new fad that shows people are starting to get, well, a little buggy.
NBC News reports that more than 1.8 million people have joined a Facebook group titled “A group where we all pretend to be ants in an ant colony.” The private group was created last June, but has really taken off as more people are looking for things to do online. As its Facebook description reads, “In this group we are ants. We worship The Queen and do ant stuff. Welcome to the colony.” There is no species identification.
What seems to be the appeal is the simplicity of the activity and the rules that ensure no conflict — they instruct there to be no “human politics,” no bullying, no spam or self-promotion. Respect everyone, and no COVID-19 talk is allowed. As the NBC coverage explains:
The concept is simple: Members of the ant group post photos and videos about being ants. They live to serve their fictional queen and find her food, such as crumbles, candy and ice cream. Members write comments like “LIFT,” “MUNCH” and “LINK” as they pretend to be ants.
In one post, a group member shared a photo of pink ice cream with ants crawling on top of it. The poster asked other members to “munch” with them and take some of the frosty treat to the queen. More than 18,000 Facebook users responded to the post while pretending to be ants, writing comments like “NOM,” “SLURP” and “LIFT.TO.THE.QUEEN.”
The group was started by Tyrese Childs, a 20-year-old college student in Fargo, N.D., who currently has 22 page administrators helping him to ensure rules are followed. There are many similar role-playing Facebook groups, according to the NBC article, from finding ghosts in a mansion to working in an office. Experts interviewed for the article agree that such pastimes fulfill a basic human need for social interaction, and keep the brain occupied, too.
But to set themselves apart from the pack, this ant group is taking things next-level. According to the article, it is “selling ‘ant-spired’ merchandise like T-shirts, hoodies and other memorabilia, and 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to a nature conservancy.” A Buzzfeed article covers this even more in-depth here, and the online store (which doesn’t disclose the name of the charity) is here.
So, the next time you’re at an ant account and the customers casually mention that they pretend to be ants online, you can now understand what they mean. (Hopefully.)