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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last month, you’ll already know about the ‘ice bucket challenge’ that has been sweeping social media lately. The last few weeks, however, videos have started being uploaded by celebrities taking part to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and the ALS association.

From Bill Gates to 50 cent, these short videos have been very popular and the concept has become viral with many none-celebrities continuing to partake in the challenge too.

Viral videos, social media and charity

Some time ago, we have seen the early stages of people utilising virility of social media posts by taking the no-makeup ‘selfie’ challenge to raise awareness of cancer. This last month we have seen a much bigger and impactful set of viral videos that have definitely raised awareness for ALS, and have at the time of writing this help raise over 15 million dollars.

Some celebrities, however, are not convinced that the ice bucket challenge participants are doing all they can for the ALS. Steve-o from ‘Jackass’ posted this message to Facebook:

TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO GOT MAD AT ME FOR THIS VIDEO: Since the ice bucket challenge began, over 15 million dollars has been raised for ALS research. I think that’s great, but when you consider the countless A-list celebrities who have actively gotten behind this cause by posting videos– the fact that not more than fifteen million dollars has been raised is a tragedy. It’s tragic because I don’t think many of those celebrities even bothered to mention how or where to donate money for ALS research. Most of them just poured water over their heads and named three random people, without including any “call to action” which actually benefits victims of ALS at all. Had all those celebrities given this cause any thought, hundreds of millions of dollars might have been raised, and a whole lot more awareness. Let’s start a new trend– by actually letting people know how to donate– visit this page: I’m nowhere near as rich or famous as many of the folks you’ve seen pour water on their heads, but I cared enough to get educated and donate one thousand dollars of my hard-earned money to With love, Steve-O

Personally I feel that it’s totally up to the individual when it comes to charity – using their celebrity status and large following to reach a large audience is definitely raising awareness about ALS. Bam Margera received some criticism on Facebook for donating 400 dollars which some felt wasn’t enough.

A lot of people that donate to charity do it without announcing the fact to the world so I’m sure some celebrities with a large social media following have donated some of their money to the cause but just haven’t mentioned it.

Charlie Sheen decided to take a different approach to the challenge, not by tipping ice and water over his head, but 10,000 dollars that he will donate to the ALS and challenging three others to do the same.

When it doesn’t work…

I do think though that sometimes users of Facebook tend to think sharing a message saying ‘share if you support this charity’ mistakenly gives many users the impression that this alone is what you need to do in order to support a charity. I see it all the time on Facebook and it’s pretty frustrating because if you actually cared for the cause, you would donate or contribute in some way but do more than just sharing some text.

I think all in all that Facebook and other social networks can be great to get the message out and spread the world when it comes to good causes. It’s just finding the right balance of partaking in an activity and making sure it’s not just for the sake of it. The message needs to be clear in order to be worth anything at all, otherwise you are just pouring water over your head for nothing.

What are your thoughts on the ice bucket challenge? Who would you like to see complete the challenge that you haven’t already?

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Image credit – University of Central Arkansas


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