Monday, August 25, 2014

I Guess I’m Not Welcomed At The Cool Kids Table…

Forgive me for not being as excited as some others about this whole Ice Bucket Challenge thing. I have been a joiner and a follower in my life and it doesn’t really agree with me. I have other charities and causes to which I contribute both my time and, when I am able, a little money now and again. While ALS is a great cause which to donate, I have others which are where my passion lies and that are much more personal to me… that is where I chose to focus my efforts.   

With that said, I have to give credit to the person that started this campaign/fad. At this moment, I can’t recall a nonprofit having such a huge social media campaign that has crossed so many cultural, economic, and international lines. It’s the kind of marketing/fund raising campaign that makes you just marvel at the speed and efficiency of how fast this has spread. And while there is tremendous purpose and a great cause behind these videos, pictures, posts and the campaign in general, there is a bit of a downside to such success.

While this has raised awareness for ALS which is a great thing to have happened and probably the primary purpose behind this campaign’s creation, the campaign itself seems to be overshadowing the cause. It is no longer about how much money has been raised for ALS or really any education about the disease, it is all about seeing someone pour ice cold water on their head. It is slowly descending into the realm of an entertaining fad that people insist on being a part of… it is membership to the cool kids table.

I consider myself a bit indifferent at this point slightly leaning toward tired of seeing all the nonsense on the internet. While I don’t hold the same view of this campaign as one of my friends, I think it is important to share the views from the other side:

While there is a lot said in this screen shot, the comment he made following this post adds the color that as apropos to this discussion:

“And please don't take this the wrong way. I'm happy that these "games" seem to work and perhaps in some cases lots of people are helped, provided more than 5% of donations actually go to people in need and not administration. I might get ALS tomorrow, who knows! It's just that anything that is overdone tends to turn me off. I know it raises awareness. Just consider it a quirk in me or even a character flaw; I just can't help it; it's the way I am.”

Don’t get me wrong. I am by no means against supporting this or any other charitable cause I just wish that people knew what they were donating to and truly raising awareness about the disease. It really makes me wonder whether these kinds of campaigns, in the end, do more harm than good for the cause. In the coming years will this cause be considered ‘so last year’ among the celebrities and their followers? I honestly can’t give you a definitive answer to that. I hope not but it is not out of the realm of possibility.

However, if there is one message that I hope that everyone takes away from this social media one up game is that if you have a charity or cause you are passionate about take the time to not just donate but put some effort into supporting the cause and the work that they do. Don’t just post an over the top video, channel that effort into supporting a cause close to you. That is how we can make a greater difference above and beyond a clever social media marketing campaign.