Ice Bucket Challenge a social media sensation

Published Aug 20, 2014 at 3:02 am (Updated Aug 19, 2014 at 9:31 am)

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge, the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) fundraiser that is spreading awareness like wildfire on social media. In case you haven’t, the concept is simple: once you have been called out, you have 24 hours to either donate $100 to the ALS Association or you must pour a bucket of ice water over your head. Then, you call out others to complete the challenge, keeping the campaign viral.

While critics have panned those who pour ice over their heads to avoid donating to the cause – Vice.com’s Arielle Pardes wrote “There are a lot of things wrong with the Ice Bucket Challenge, but the most annoying is that it’s basically narcissism masked as altruism” – the fact of the matter is that ALS is at the front of our minds.

But awareness of Lou Gehrig’s disease is not the only thing that the Ice Bucket Challenge is raising – according to the ALS Association, $15.6 million has been raised as a direct result of the Ice Bucket Challenge, a stunning nine times the amount raised in the same time frame a year ago. Thankfully, this is because a lot of people are dumping ice water over their heads AND donating, rather than doing the stunt to avoid the donation.

The beauty of this fundraiser is that 100 percent of the donations go towards the cause, rather than say, a percentage that must pay for over the top centerpieces or aged prime rib at a black tie fundraising gala. By the same token, people of all ages and income levels can participate, and they do. How many 10-year-olds attend those stuffy soirees? Very few, if any.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is an example of social media working for the greater good. However, it is only a matter of time before the videos stop populating our news feeds and are replaced with the next viral sensation.

What a world.

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