I was thinking about some of the annoying fads that are very prevalent on social media right now. When something becomes so mega-popular that it spreads across the Internet like wildfire, we refer to it as going “viral.” This is a good, appropriate description because, before it has run its course, we are sick to death of it!
Whether it’s a snake eating an alligator, a name printed on your Coke can or, most recently, the Ice Bucket Challenge, we get it over and over again on social media. We also get it from the news outlets that cover social media. The ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge, started to raise awareness for ALS, (Lou Gehrig’s disease) has almost taken over Facebook.
People are even posting videos of their small children being pummeled with buckets of ice and water, complete with a list of who they challenge. Then there are the “Ice Bucket Challenges Gone Bad” videos in which someone was seriously injured.
Having known a few people affected by ALS, I am not making light of this terrible disease. Wikipedia explains that donations more than doubled throughout the Ice Bucket Challenge this year, and there were 739,000 new donors. Those who were challenged to dump ice water on their head but refused, were supposed to send donations to the ALS Association within 24 hours. Those who do the challenge are getting themselves off-the-hook regarding a donation, although some still do make a contribution.
If you would like to see how the ALS Association allocates their donations, you can view a simple pie chart here on their web site. I don’t know what percentage a donor expects to be allocated for actual research, but it is only 28% of their total budget, with 32% allocated to public awareness. What I do know, however, is that lots of people are so “aware” that they would be willing to donate in exchange for making these wet, screaming videos go away.