Enough with the ice bucket challenge, or at least do it right

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I don’t know how it started, and I don’t really care. But what may have started out as a fun way to raise funds and awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) aka Lou Gehrig’s disease has just turned into yet another social media fad that has lost its purpose. Yes, I’m talking about the ice bucket challenge.

ice01If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t been online the past few weeks, the ice bucket challenge is an Internet sensation where people dump buckets of ice cold water on their heads, then challenge others to do so, supposedly to raise awareness of ALS. The concept is that you if you don’t accept the challenge you have to donate $100 to the ALS Association. If you do accept, then either you don’t have to donate the money or you just donate $10 (I’ve seen both versions), and you also get to nominate three of your friends to do the same.

This initially may have been a fun way to get people aware of the disease and to donate money to the cause, but the more I see these videos flooding my social media stream, the more I think people don’t get what it’s supposed to be about. People claim they’re doing it to raise awareness of ALS, but do they really know anything about the disease themselves? How about you tell me what the effects of the disease are or how many people are affected by it? Or maybe at least give me a website address I can look up to get more information on my own? How about providing a link where I can donate my money? Sadly, most of the ice bucket challenge videos I’ve seen don’t do any of the above or even mention the monetary choice that is the whole basis of the challenge in the first place.

ice02That’s because this challenge has turned from raising awareness of ALS to raising awareness of individual egos. I see people dumping water on themselves and challenging others, but honestly, if the cause is indeed the reason for the challenge, wouldn’t it benefit more from a $100 donation for not accepting the challenge than a measly $10 donation or no donation at all? I did some research and learned that the ALS Association has raised over $31 million from the ice bucket challenge and that’s terrific. So overall the challenge has been effective and the money will hopefully be used in an effective manner.

But I just don’t feel it’s about the cause anymore. It’s about getting your social media profile more exposure. The ice bucket challenge is a perfect opportunity for the, “Hey, look what I did!” social media generation to pimp themselves out under the ruse of charitable cause. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as narcissistic as anyone else and love to share my experiences on social media as well. But you won’t see me doing the ice bucket challenge. If you really want to help raise awareness and/or money to fight ALS, go ahead and give them some money, then contact your friends, share some information on the disease, and encourage them to do the same. But don’t challenge others to donate less money by dumping water on themselves while not even sharing the slightest bit of information about the very cause you’re supposedly trying to help.

I’m sure the ice bucket challenge won’t go away anytime soon, especially with celebrities jumping on the bandwagon too. But if you’re going to do it, please don’t lose sight of its original purpose and actually attempt to shed some light on why you’re doing it.

14 comments
midlifenadia
midlifenadia

Jake Shimabukuro's ice bucket challenge was the first one I watched that shared facts about the disease and I liked how he used water from the ocean. 

Marv_n
Marv_n

I read this post earlier today and something about it bothered me. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time. I agree and disagree with your points, but things I disagreed with weren't my issue with it.


I read it again and then I realized something. You wrote about how you wish those doing the challenge would share information about the disease, tell others where they can get more information, and provide a link where folks can donate money, but your post did not include any of that. You had an opportunity to educate people about ALS, just like all the people who you felt were caught up in social media exposure, but you didn’t and that bothered me.


Of course, it would be hypocritical of me if I didn’t include the following information in this comment.


The ALS Association Website (where folks can learn about the disease and donate without dumping ice water on them): http://www.alsa.org


alfonzso
alfonzso

Whether it's genuine or not, it's been effective. End of story.

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

MC:  Right on!  Much of the social media stuff is about the individual.  Dale Carnegie said that the 2 main drivers that humans have in doing anything is: 1.  The need for sex;  2.  The need to feel important.  I guess the ice bucket is all about #2, because I know that a bucket of ice water dumped on you inhibits #1!

ThisRobGreen
ThisRobGreen

Can you just put an "Agree" button on your posts? haha. I had the same thoughts as well especially since the Kpop scene is taking this on in full effect with members of U-KISS, f(x), Super Junior, JYJ, Big Bang, and Girls' Generation doing the challenge or getting called out. I think that Simon and Martina from @eatyourkimchi did a good job in their challenge ( http://bit.ly/YANomx ) in which they not only talked about it, did the challenge, donated money, but also included a link for more info. If you read the comments from their youtube video there are many people discussing the pros and cons of the challenge as well as the reason behind it and the significance of the ice water. That in and of itself is helping to create a dialog about ALS amongst people who might not have known about it. It would be nice if more people who take this on did the same in pointing out the awareness and donation to the cause aspect as opposed to just jumping on the bandwagon to be relevant for 15 seconds.


Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

Man, I was thinking the exact same thing. Well, that, and the fact that all this water is being wasted while people in other countries (or even our own) don't have drinkable water. I'm glad they raised $31 million, though. If it helped them reach or surpass their goals, in a faster way than other fundraising methods, then I guess I don't have as much of a problem with it. Maybe.

Myong
Myong

@Marv_n Marvin, you are absolutely right. I did waste an opportunity to share the information about ALS. Thank you for providing that link.

Myong
Myong

@ThisRobGreen Haha, I didn't even know this fad has reached the K-pop world. But you'd think with this many celebrities worldwide participating, much more money would have been raised by now. But I guess everyone's taking the cheaper $10 route that actually gets them internet exposure.

Myong
Myong

@Melissa808 Well, I guess everyone has water to waste now that the hurricane didn't hit! =) I really don't have a problem with people having fun for a great cause. But I fail to see the genuineness in many of these videos and that's what bugs me.

ThisRobGreen
ThisRobGreen

@Myong Among the common folk yes i think that $10 is the norm. But to be fair @eatyourkimchi did donate $100 and it looks like the other kpop idols are doing the same going so far as to post a selca with the donation form. http://bit.ly/1nbssYT