UPDATE: Will President Obama accept The Ice Bucket Challenge?
The social media campaign to raise awareness for ALS has picked up even more steam since the publication of this post.
The ALS Association says they've seen a 1000 percent spike in donations from the same 10-day period last year, and celebrities like Elizabeth Banks and Lance Bass have gotten in on the act. But the big question is: will President Obama accept the challenge?
Ethel Kennedy, wife of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, nominated President Obama in a Facebook video recorded at the family home in Hyannis Port, Mass. Take a look and stay tuned for news on a special Ice Bucket Challenge: White House Edition.
You may be wondering: why did Matt Lauer, Martha Stewart and all of your Facebook friends decide to record videos of themselves pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads?
The videos are part of the "Ice Bucket Challenge," which went viral this week and is meant to raise awareness for ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease).
The challenge started in Boston as a way to support Pete Frates, the 29-year old former captain of the Boston College baseball team who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. He is now confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak.
Here's how to take the challenge:
1. Record a video of yourself pouring ice water over your head. Include an introduction that mentions the Ice Bucket Challenge or the "Strike Out ALS" campaign.
2. Once you've doused yourself in icy water, name three friends to take the challenge
3. Post to social media, using the appropriate hashtags (#icebucketchallenge and/or #strikeoutALS)
It's that simple.
Here's Frates' video:
And here's Matt Lauer, who challenged fellow celebs Martha Stewart, Brian Williams and Howard Stern:
Stewart accepted and passed it on to Blake Lively, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ellen DeGeneres (all of whom have yet to submit videos):
But not everyone is convinced that the Ice Bucket Challenge accomplishes anything. The Wall Street Journal's Brian M. Carney wrote, "…I can't see how daring others to take videos of themselves engaging in stunts of self-suffering accomplishes much."
So what has the stunt accomplished? Well, everyone on social media is now talking about ALS, so awareness has certainly been raised.
But what about the money? A representative from the ALS Association told Fusion, "As of yesterday, there has been nearly a four-fold increase in donations (between July 29-August 6). If you just look at the last three days we’ve seen about a tenfold increase in donations compared to last year."
While some are skeptical about the effectiveness of using viral tactics to raise awareness and money, The Ice Bucket Challenge appears to be succeeding at both.
Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.