Ice Bucket Challenge Phenomenon

When things go viral on the internet we can always learn something new.  A number of things have been demonstrated by the Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC) that I would like to explore in this blog post.

Video is by far the best mechanism. If you want to stand any chance of a campaign to become viral, video is your best chance.  This is not a new piece of information but the IBC has highlighted just how far video consumption has progressed as a way of communicating over the internet. Every man, his dog and their grandma has created a video.  In the modern world does that count as your 15 mins of fame?

Ownership of a concept is difficult to maintain. It is difficult to prove that ALSA “invented” the concept of the IBC as there are many cited origins and similar concepts. However once the tipping point of viral sharing has been reached trying to hop on the band wagon can end with negative marketing, just as MacMillan has experienced..

A message can get lost in the noise of the event.  My original interpretation of the challenge was that it was to encourage donations to a charity and that the amount of donation could be offset resultant on your willingness to be dowsed in cold water.  As the IBC challenge evolved that message got lost and it became, for a lot of people , an excuse to create a video and pass on the challenge.  The actual intent of the process had been lost in the noise and excitement of people wanting to do what everyone else was doing.

Celebrity and our Follow culture is a great communication mechanism.  One of the reasons that the IBC has been so successful is because of its take up by people with large numbers of followers.  This has created social validation amongst large numbers of people that follow celebrities and use them as a guide of how to behave.

Don’t underestimate the desire to brag.  There are a number of reasons that people take part in such a group meme. In some cases it could be that they want to feel social inclusive due to the group nature of the event. I personally feel that the reason the message is getting diluted (no pun intended) because the attention people are seeking is “Look at Me” rather than “Look I have Donated”.

I have been nominated for the IBC and have decided that since my upcoming Iron Man event is probably significantly more of a challenge than being dowsed in iced water that I would just donate to charity.  I have had friends family members die of MND, also my own father suffers from bone and prostate cancer so, with that in mind, I pledge on this blog to donate to both the MND Association and MacMillan. After all that’s what this is all about – and not about the ice bucket.