Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Steven Spielberg, Hugh Jackman, George W Bush, even your next door neighbor and many other popular, well-known or unknown people united around one idea and got involved in a campaign. You all might remember a year ago a lot of viral videos shared on social networking sites showing people poured buckets of ice water over their heads, thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you have not seen even one video of pouring iced water on the head and you are unaware of what we are talking about, it turns out that you are probably living in a cave.
Ice Bucket Challenge or Cold Water Challenge went viral on social media during July–August 2014. The main goal was to increase awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease and involve various foundations for donations to research this disease. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. When the motor neurons are affected, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe. Unfortunately, there is no cure for ALS.
The rules of Ice Bucket Challenge are: at first you need to actually be challenged in order to do the challenge. In case you’ve been Ice Bucket Challenged, you have 24 hours to complete the challenge. The entire ordeal of pouring ice water buckets on head should be recorded and put on video and then you should post it on various social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube… You will also have to nominate other people to do the same and donate to ALS Association (ALSA) in order to fund the organization for ALS cure research. If you refuse to take the challenge you should donate more money. Even though it’s a bit difficult to understand what is the relationship between pouring the water and ALS, the campaign was successful.
Ice Bucket Challenge’s results better represent statistics. The ALS Association had received $115 million in donations from people all over the globe who were moved to action by last summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge. It was over 40x the same timespan in 2013 (from July 29-Sept 22). You can View infographic about how the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has accelerated research, care services and public policy initiatives to expedite ALS treatments. Besides The ALS Association donations also received other organizations which study this disease. In addition to these donations, the awareness about ALS has increased.
Let’s look at the social media statistics:
- Between June and September, the world shared more than 17 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos on Facebook
- 440 million people viewed the videos more than 10 billion times
- 3.7 million videos uploaded with the hashtags #ALSicebucketchallenge and #icebucketchallenge
- ALS Twitter followers had increased from 8,975 in early July to 21,100
- July 1 – August 31, 2014 the Ice Bucket Challenge generated 15.5 million mentions
- #ALSIceBucketChallenge, #IceBucketChallenge and “Ice Bucket Challenge” totaled 21 million mentions between the beginning of August to september
- 6.2 million videos uploaded on youtube
I am one of those people who discovered ALS disease through this campaign. Before Ice bucket Challenge I did not know much about the disease, however, after seeing the videos of pouring iced water I looked for information.
There are several reasons of why this campaign became so successful. This is primarily the campaign’s simplicity – the challenge is easy to understand, it’s funny – the challenge is entertaining to watch. The third reason is that anyone can participate in it: anyone who has a smartphone and social media and anyone has opportunity to be in the center of attention. I think this quote of Benjamin Franklin very corresponds to this situation:“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” People were involved and were actively participating in this campaign- that’s why the Ice Bucket Challenge awareness has increased. However, in my opinion, these reasons are still not enough to explain why everyone imitated a seemingly pointless activity-pouring water on head.
Georgia had actively joined the campaign too. As a result of charitable Youtube-marathon “Ice Bucket Challenge” Georgian charitable organization “WeHelp.ge” in 5 days mobilized 15 000 lari.
Ice bucket challenge received a lot of criticism as well, including from Georgia too. Generally this campaign was criticized because of the focusing primarily on fun rather than donating money to charity. For most this was entertainment and just means for cooling in hot summer, next funny video and just another charity campaign that is actually more of a self-promotional campaign. Many who poured water on head, neither become interested in getting information about disease nor donating money.
Georgian citizens also expressed their discontent that here in Georgia are already too many people in need of help and those who need help more and it would have been more appropriate to donate money to them .
Animal rights activists opposed the campaign, because of the ALS Association’s involvement with animal testing. Many called to donate money to other organizations instead of ASL. For example for me, the most interestingly against this campaign protested Canadian musician Grimes: “I will not donate money to this foundation because of their record of testing on animals, but I will donate money to the Malala fund because education is the key to ending almost every issue that faces humanity and our world today. “
The success of Ice Bucket Challenge is evidenced by the fact that this action has inspired others: Several other challenges have been created and publicized as a result of the publicity of the Ice Bucket Challenge.
For me it was one of the most creative, bizarre and a large-scale campaign, which has led to an incredibly great activity and showed us the power of social media and its possibilities.