Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (or ALS), have you ever heard of it?
Well, if you have not heard of ALS, then maybe you have heard of the “Ice Bucket Challenge”?
I almost guarantee the majority of people have heard of this challenge. It has dominated our social media news feeds almost all summer and this stunt shows no possibility of slowing down, any time soon.
I have heard people either say it is a great idea or it is just another way for people to get likes on their Facebook. I agree with both opinions to this new trend.
I hate to call it a trend, because of the serious impacts it has created, but it is somewhat of a trend. Long story short, for the few of you who may not know what this is, “The Ice Bucket Challenge” was created to raise awareness for the neurological disease, ALS.
If you have never heard of ALS, then maybe you know of this disease from its nickname, Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
According to The ALS Association’s website, this is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
People with ALS eventually lose all muscle movement and control, causing total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis.
There is currently no cure and only one drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prolong survival after diagnosis.
With all of this information in mind, I have to agree that the “Ice Bucket Challenge” (IBC) has certainly done its job to promote awareness for the disease. I would argue that this is one of the best public relation tactics I have ever seen.
As of August, the ALS Association has received around $88.5 million in donations and has garnered 1.9 million new donors to the cause. With this sudden dramatic influx of donations, the ALS Association has stated on its website that they need to seriously consider where the donations will be put to good use.
For instance, Carrie Monk, a representative of the association wrote in an article, “We want to move quickly, but decisively, as our ultimate goal is to use this incredible generosity in a way that has the biggest impact on the disease.”
I hope they do. Its people who decide to donate who are participating in the correct way. I am not about to say that people who just participate in the challenge do not care about this disease, but I am suggesting that there are people out there who are participating for the wrong reasons.
Recently, I noticed on my Facebook news feed that there is a new challenge surfacing called the Five Day Positive Challenge. This challenge gives Facebook users the opportunity to state three things they are grateful for, for five days. Like the IBC, people nominate others to participate.
This is my concern. We had a challenge that actually helped to promote awareness for a disease and now we have a challenge that I do not care about. One thing that I hate about Facebook is when people openly tell the world about their lives.
I do not care that your boyfriend is super cute.
I feel that society needs to gain some perspective with social media, at times.
The IBC was created to promote awareness for a terminal disease with no cure and little public understanding.
We have now gone from an effort that was raising awareness for something that needs more support to a new movement that people are doing just to receive likes on Facebook.
There are things in the world worth fighting and posting for, then there are things that are just better kept unsaid.