Florida Man Challenge: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

‘Florida man, 81, tried to buy girl, 8, from mother at Walmart.’

That’s this author’s headline. Birthday, Oct. 2.

There are others around that date, like: ‘Florida man used template he found on Pinterest to print counterfeit money at library.’

In the overall scheme of things when it comes to Florida man, not jaw-dropping but perhaps folks have built up a Florida man tolerance, it’s got to be really shocking. Or at least hilarious.

Like this: ‘Armless Florida man charged after allegedly using feet to stab tourist with scissors.’

Florida man has been a thing as long as there’s been a Florida, but on the internet, it’s been around six years since a Florida man Twitter was born and cleverly used near-daily headlines about Florida men doing outrageous things and committing, allegedly, outrageous crimes. Most are hilarious. Many are shocking. A lot are sad, horrible or disgusting. But it’s such a thing that a new game called the Florida Man Challenge is a viral phenom.

Here’s what you need to know about the Florida Man Challenge:

1. The Florida Man Challenge is Simple & Results Are Pretty Much Guaranteed

The Florida Man Challenge, the most fun (and productive!) Thursday thing is simply this: Search the term ‘Florida man’ and add your birthday, without the year, and hit enter.

For example, say your birthday is Nov. 1.

‘Florida man arrested for barging into homes seeking someone to fight him.’

“A drunken, shirtless man allegedly barged into several Pensacola homes looking for a fight before running into a fence and knocking himself out, according to an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.”

Oh and here’s a best-of Florida man post just because:

You can’t un-see.

2. The Florida Man Challenge is the Brainchild of a Tumblr User Whose Idea Was Shared on Twitter & Soon Was a Major Trend

“I am legally now the president of Florida,” reads the profile of Twitter user ‘paige saw cm!, @gandalfsoda

@gandalfsoda first posted the idea for the game on Tumblr. It was Twitter user swervin merv, @g_pratimaaa who got things moving on Twitter. Within less than a day, it was a Twitter trend and moment.

Paige was grateful for the shout-out.

“It’s rare for someone to give proper credit on the internet and she’s real nice!! Thanks.”

3. ‘How Am I Supposed to Choose?’ A Common Challenge Occurrence

She has a point.

‘Florida man accuses dog of shooting girlfriend in the leg.’ And, ‘Florida man arrested for throwing alligator through drive-thru window.’

It’s a true toss-up. But there appears to be no rule about how to choose if Florida man was particularly active on your birthday. Pick the best, some say.

Sadly though, the first headline, where a Florida man blames a dog for shooting his girlfriend, has happened twice in Florida since 2017. In one case, the man killed her and blamed his “really smart dog.”

Sometimes, Florida man is just not funny.

4. Florida Man, the ‘World’s Worst Superhero,’ Was Born a Meme in 2013 on Twitter

Born as a meme in February of 2013 on Twitter feed @_FloridaMan, the anti-hero appeared almost daily as the subject in Florida news headlines.

The Florida tag had been around but it wasn’t until ‘Florida man’ was conceived that it took off. Soon, Tumblr and Reddit were in and Tumblr blog StuckInABucket and subreddit r/FloridaMan were a thing.

The original Florida man Twitter account has almost half a million followers, but there’s baby Florida man accounts and other copy-cats, a few with respectable followings.

Here’s the Feb. 2013 tweet that changed the world.

So it’s really only six years old and while popular across the internet, surely there’s some folks who surely don’t know Florida man, and surely need to, so the game should be shared.

5. Florida’s Sunshine Law, a Model Nationally, a ‘Good’ Florida Model, Paved the Way for Florida Man Headlines. Though It’s Still Probably True That Florida Man is the Worst

The Miami New Times wrote that it has used the term Florida man in headlines for years to let its largely Miami-based audience know that the alleged criminal or similar was located elsewhere in Florida. Anyway, the New Times, in a 2015 piece, explained that in part, the reason for the opportunity to find a nutty headline nearly every day of the year is due in large measure to the state’s more than century old open records laws.

In 1909 the state legislature passed “Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes or the ‘Public Records Law’ …(which) provides that any records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business are available” to the public. Over the decades, the law evolved to include electronic media:
“Over the years, the definition of what constitutes ‘public records’ has come to include not just traditional written documents such as papers, maps and books, but also tapes, photographs, film, sound recordings and records stored in computers.”

In 1967, the official Government in Sunshine Act became law.

If you wanted to, you could read all about it here.

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Being a crime reporter in Florida means never having to worry about a good headline.

And here’s that story. Because Florida man.