Social Media & The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Social Media & The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Social Media & The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

It is highly likely that last year either you, or someone you knew was dumping a bucket of ice cold water on your/their head in a back garden.

The idea stemmed from 4 families:

  • Ariana & Chris Kennedy
  • Jeanette & Anthony Senerchia
  • Pat Quinn
  • Peter Frates

Jeanette’s husband Anthony was diagnosed with ALS in 2003. Their cousin Ariana Kennedy and her husband Chris Kennedy challenged Jeanette to take an Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness of the condition. They kept texting her saying that “time was ticking” giving her a deadline to take the challenge (possibly one of the reasons why the challenge became such a hit).

She took the challenge (see the video below) in order to raise awareness of ALS through her friends, taking an ice bucket challenge and tagging three of her Facebook friends, Karen Green, Kristin Wrona & Antionette Clements to do the same. She used #icebucketchallenge and #ALS as hashtags in her message.

The idea was simple – take the challenge, nominate three friends and give them a deadline to complete the challenge. This morphed into donating to ALS, taking the challenge, nominating 3 friends, and giving them a 24 hour deadline to complete the challenge.

They responded and nominated more people with Rick Cuomo taking the Ice Bucket Challenge. By Rick taking the challenge this meant that Pat Quinn became aware of the challenge and as a fellow ALS patient he passed this on to another ALS patient – Pete Frates.

Pete Frates was a former captain of the Boston College Baseball team and played professional baseball in Europe. In March 2012 he was diagnosed with ALS. Having been the captain of the Boston College Baseball team his status raised even more awareness of the ice bucket challenge in the Boston Area of the US.

This led to local news coverage. Local news coverage led to national news coverage. Celebrities became aware and got involved and within one month of the very first challenge, the #icebucketchallenge became a worldwide trend through Social Media.

In the end the ice bucket challenge reached 159 countries and 440 million people. Over 17 million films were created and uploaded to social media with over 10 billion views of these video clips. The ice bucket challenge became the 2nd largest conversation in Facebook history.

But the question remained – did people do this “for a laugh” or did it make a difference?

Over $220,000,000 was raised for ALS, along with a general awareness of what the condition was and how it affected the lives of all those who end up with the diagnosis (which was the original intention of the Senerchia family).

In the UK £6,000,000 was raised for the Motor Neurone Disease UK charity, over £3,000,000 was raised for Macmillan Cancer and even Water Aid benefited with over £47,000 being donated in ONE DAY (for all those that argued it was a waste of water).

To date it has been the largest medical fund raising campaign in history.

The campaign won the “Special Achievement Award” at the recent Webby Awards. Watch the video to hear more about the campaign and see Pat Quinn receive the award. The Webby Awards have a rule that each award winner is only allowed a 5 word acceptance speech. This is what Pat Quinn had to say –

Every August Until A Cure

Could we could see a return of the #icebucketchallenge later in the year?

For more information about the charitable foundation set up by Anthony Senerchia visit his foundation here.

Image Credit – Anthony Quintano