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Coning is a viral video prank that involves ordering a soft-serve ice cream cone from a drive-through and grabbing the cone by the ice cream - rather than the cone - when it is handed through the drive-through window. A camera is strategically placed in the prankster's automobile so that the shot is of the driver and the drive-in employee who is handing him or her the cone. When the driver takes the ice cream cone in this unconventional fashion, the camera picks up the employee's reaction. Then, the video is placed on YouTube, Facebook or other social media websites. Coning is a widely popular phenomenon with youth around the world.
It may also be known (and pronounced) as cone-ing.
Similar to planking, another Internet meme that involves lying down in public face-first so as to resemble a wooden plank, coning is a form of humorous exhibitionism.
Like planking, coning also originated in Australia. Alki Stevens of Melbourne launched the coning craze when he started coning in 2007. The trend gradually grew to include a Facebook tribute page on coning. Stevens' coning YouTube video became wildly popular, gaining millions of views. In fact, within a day of first posting it on YouTube in June 2011, Stevens was surprised to receive 20,000 hits, according to BBC News Magazine.
Stevens has been known to attribute coning's popularity to the fact that his YouTube video has been included in several links and blogs. ABC's "Good Morning America" show has even featured the phenomenon. Interestingly, Stevens' followers are more numerous in countries like the U.S. as opposed to his native Australia. Stevens got the idea of the prank from his general fondness of making people feel awkward and seeing their reactions.