Why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Went Viral

As a citizen of the internet, you’ve seen everyone from Shakira to your uncle Joe pour a bucket of ice water over their heads in the name of ALS awareness. But why is everyone so compelled to freeze in the name of a disease they have likely never heard of before? Keep reading for a breakdown of how the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has the perfect makeup for a viral social media campaign.

Piggybacking on a movement gains momentum.

The Ice Bucket Challenge was actually started by a group of professional golfers as a challenge to pour the icy water over their heads or donate to a charity of their choice. In his video, pro golfer Chris Kennedy chose ALS because of a family connection. The ALS Foundation saw the video on social media and began promoting it and the Ice Bucket Challenge, and it caught on.

Taking the challenge means doing good.

Whether you donate to the ALS Foundation or not, your video is reaching more eyes and reminding them of the importance to support charity with money, work and time. Many critics of the Ice Bucket Challenge talk about the waste of clean water during drought season, but the viral phenomenon has raised more than $40 million for the cause in a time frame the foundation would usually receive less than $2 million. That money is enough to make a real difference in research for treatment and curing Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Watching the challenge means laughing at others.

For those of you not familiar with schadenfreude, it is the happiness spread by the misfortune of others. Not only do these videos bring a smile to your face because your friend or favorite celebrity is covered in frozen water, but the multitude of fail videos are sweeping the web as participants get hit in the head with big buckets or fall down on slippery grass.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the internet by storm and raised awareness and money for an otherwise invisible cause because of its appeal to do-gooders and trolls alike. Below we’ve added our favorite Ice Bucket video. Sir Patrick Stewart is a genius.

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