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What’s The Deal With The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

By now, if you haven’t heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge we’re going to have to assume you’ve been living under either a literal or metaphorical rock recently. This social media craze, which has been sweeping the internet in an icy blitz since around the middle of July, has seen everyone from your neighbor to famous faces dousing themselves in ice water… But for what?

The Basics

What we now know as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, was actually making rounds at the start of July 2014 as nothing more than the Ice Bucket Challenge. Anyone could be challenged, but the charity was one of your own choosing. It appears that Sarasota, Fla. golfer Chris Kennedy was the first to bring the Ice Bucket Challenge and ALS together.

Through others taking on the challenge, the ALS Ice Bucket phenomenon made it all the way to Boston, to an ALS sufferer named Pete Frates. Frates undertook the challenge, and between the 29th of July and the 4th of August it went viral, with participants including everyone from Bill Gates to Jennifer Lopez.

How It Works

The challenge works like this: you get nominated by another person (or perhaps you nominate yourself) to either have a bucket of ice water dumped on you or to donate money to the ALS Foundation. If you don’t fulfil someone’s nomination of you within 24 hours, you have to donate, but many people choose to do both. Once you’ve completed the challenge, you in turn can challenge up to three people to also take part, spreading the word a little more.

Slacktivism Critics

One of the biggest criticisms of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is that it is another example of Slacktivism, which basically means that people feel like they’re doing something good, and they brag about it, without actually having an effect at all.

Well, we can’t deny that this is happening, but there’s a bigger picture to look at as well. For everyone who simply does the challenge and doesn’t donate, they are spreading the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with up to three others as well as educating on ALS. Yes, there will be some people who do not donate, but that isn’t any different from many charity campaigns. The fact is, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has managed to hit the big time, and that level of viral sharing isn’t just about donations, it’s also about awareness.

But Is It Working?

Despite what many critics of the campaign have trumpeted in the last few weeks, the answers are clear. Not only is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge spreading the word about ALS, it’s also bringing in the money. In fact, a press release from the ALS Association from the 18th of August notes that the association has received a total of $15.6 million in donations between July 29th and August 18. That’s compared to just $1.8 million during the same period last year. And even more amazing is that as well as coming from existing donors, there have been a whopping 307,598 new donors registered.

That looks like success to us!

So if you love watching famous people getting soaked in icy cold water, check out some of the best celebrity ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Videos. They might inspire you to get take the plunge yourself, and get involved in the #IceBucketChallenge.