Ice bucket challenge may not be spreading awareness

Julianna Koballa

@UFPulseKoballa

Scroll through any social media and you will witness this phenomenon. You’ve participated and your sister has participated. Brother, mother and all other relatives have shown their support in ALS research through the ice bucket challenge. It’s almost toxic to the eyes. For me personally, I have watched every single 15 second excerpt or full clip on Facebook. I don’t know what it is that makes watching the action of dumping ice cold water on friends and peers so appealing and addicting.

Maybe it’s the status quo of the raging popularity, or maybe it’s the actual hope in a cure for the disease. Whatever the reason is, it’s working—and working well. It is intriguing to see how fast social media can spread news and ideas. I find it even more satisfying at how it spreads awareness so swiftly. As I was scrolling through twitter the other day, I saw a retweet from @alsassociation.  Last year, they only received 2.1$ million in donations. In a few months’ time of this phenomenon exploding over social media, they have already raised 41.8$ million.

Just to make the process clear, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is the fundraiser causing home videos to go viral. A person is nominated by someone else, and if that person doesn’t dump a bucket of ice cold water on his/her head within 24 hours of being nominated, he/she must donate an ample amount of money to an ALS research organization of choice. ALS, according to alsa.org is a disease that affects nerves in the brain and involuntary muscle movement rooting from the spinal cord.

The real question we must ask ourselves: are we really raising awareness? Are we just doing it because we get called out? Are we educating ourselves about the disease? Consider this example: what do you wear pink for? Do you wear it to genuinely support research for breast cancer? Or do you only wear it because it’s a pink-out and the whole team is doing it for team unity. Do you light up your house in April for Autism awareness to keep up with the Jones’? According to Sophomore Abby Funk, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was interesting in the beginning, but now she is getting nominated 5,6, or even 7 times to do it again.

Instead of redundancy, let’s use social media to continue the common good of society. Let’s use it to raise awareness for issues like hunger, human trafficking and poverty. Let’s start using it to build up society and not gossip, lie or spread bad words about peers. We are the generation to rise above mediocrity.

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