Earlier this year the world of social media came under fire for ease with which it allowed the #neknomination drinking challenge to spread. Critics said it promoted reckless and irresponsible drinking, and this was sadly proven correct by several deaths due to instances of accelerated and excessive consumption of alcohol in acts of one-upmanship.
However, this month we are seeing the same social mechanism of publicly nominating friends and peers put to an altogether better use in the form of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. ALS is a form of motor neurone disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads, and then to make a donation to the ALS Association.
The viral spread is one again achieved by nominating other participants once you have been covered in icy water. As well as having deep pockets, celebrities also have an unfathomably large social reach, especially when combining their audiences.
Here’s an example of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, courtesy of Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, who nominates actor Tim Robbins, music legend Bruce Springsteen, and – at the behest of his young daughters – Niall Horan from 1Direction, before being drenched in freezing water:
When celebrities start challenging each other publicly on social media, the content will inevitably have a viral spread reaching far and wide. So it should come as no surprise to hear that as of August 18th, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge had raised $15.6m (in the US) since July 29th.
To give you an idea of how much of an impact the social media campaign has had on the ALS Associations fundraising efforts, the amount received in the same period last year was less than $50,000.
As well as creating one of the platforms enabling the challenge to spread so effectively, Mark Zuckerberg was also just one of many tech leaders to find themselves beneath a bucket of icy water. The Facebook founder went on to nominate Bill Gates, who took an amusingly engineered approach to his own drenching.
There are plenty of amusing videos appearing each day from film stars, chart-toppers, sporting heroes and business leaders alike. Which #ALSIceBucketChallenge has been your favourite? Comment below, let us know…