There can very few people in the world who are not aware of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge, this viral charity stunt raises money to fight this devastating disease and also shows the relevancy of the celeb who has been tagged to participate. Noticeably it is those familiar faces which are already well known to the public which are receiving the most attention from the press and YouTube viewers.
Any non-celebrity who has access to Facebook, or even Twitter, has seen the rich and famous respond to being tagged by another celeb of significant social presence. The result of this video game of tag has produced a slew of viral videos on YouTube of a different sort.
The Google owned video-sharing site is usually full of viral videos of “Charlie bit my finger,” or epic fails of skateboarders putting themselves in hospital, et al. YouTube is also the home to wannabe singers, bands, entertainers, filmmakers, et al.
Celebs have been infiltrating the “Tube” as well. This is on top of the celebrities who have become famous as a result of the video site. Well known faces like Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt are just two of the “newer” celebrities who have uploaded videos to YouTube in the recent past.
The website has specialized in doing tag videos before. A few years ago it was the Chubby Bunny Challenge. While this one was not in aid of any particular charity, it was good natured fun. Although at least one, if not two, challengers died while doing the amusing competition.
Chubby Bunny consisted of seeing how many marshmallows one could put in their mouth and still be able to say, “Chubby Bunny.” This particular exercise was not aimed any higher than YouTube celebs, which then trickled down to the more normal users of the website.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, in aid of ALS, started out being aimed at sports figures. ALS is, after all, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and it makes sense that it started in the world of sport, the relevancy is all too apparent. Like other YouTube challenges, this one soon went outside the boundaries of it original target.
It is not clear who the first non-games related celebrity was who received the challenge but as the videos of tagged actors, singers, performers, et al, increases, more and more are uploading their Instagram videos in the name of charity.
The whole idea behind the Ice Bucket Challenge, apart from raising awareness of the disease, was to raise money. At first the whole thing was about dowsing oneself with icy water or giving money to the charity. It either began with Peter Frates or Chris Kennedy, depending on whether you read the Los Angeles Times or the Wall Street Journal, and the challenge soon spread.
Somewhere along the line, the videos all started turning into viral sensations, depending upon who was the recipient of the freezing water and whom they tagged. There have been arguments about whether or not the whole thing has gotten out of hand. Others have complained that it was never about replicating the symptoms of ALS by dashing icy water over the head, but about raising money.
Charlie Sheen left out the water and the ice opting to pour money over his head, which he declared to be his donation to the charity. He also tagged his former Two and a Half Men co-star Jon Cryer, Chuck Lorre and Ashton Kutcher, to do the same.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, apart from instantly raising awareness of ALS and increasing donations, is rapidly becoming about the social relevancy of the “celebs” being tagged. It may have started out in the sports world, which in turn tagged non-celebs such as family members and so on, but it has now turned into a “who’s who” of the rich and famous. Needless to say, regardless of just how viral this challenge is going, if you have not been tagged, you obviously have no presence on social media. Either that or you are not a “visible enough” celebrity for the press to care. At the very least, however, the ALS charity wins regardless of who is doing the dumping.
By Michael Smith