Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#icebucketchallenge

I have a love/hate relationship with social media.

It's a wonderful way to keep in contact with people apart from you, but it can also bring out the worst in people. Enough so, that a controversy has sparked over the positive intentions of the #icebucketchallenge for ALS.

I will say that I, too, have had some reservations about the viral awareness videos. So dry off or take a moment of mediation to allow for some empathy from both sides.

It was around this past weekend that I couldn't even look at my phone anymore. I didn't want to see the videos. I got aggravated at the people who wouldn't even mention ALS in their clips, chalking this challenge up to people just wanting to put themselves online, rather than raise awareness about a disease with so much unknown and so much to lose.

What made me the most angry, was people claiming to do the bucket challenge OR donate to the cause. Why not AND? What good is a bucket of water over your head doing to the organization?

I toyed with the idea of making my own video, starting with information about what ALS is, how you can find more information, and more importantly, how you can contribute in any way you can. Then I pondered being snarky, printing my receipt from my donation, putting it into a bucket, and pouring that over my head with a classic smirk.

And on top of it all, living in the drought-stricken state of California has made me privy to notice when people are wasting water by throwing it out.

But, like in all controversies, there is another side.

ALS is a life-threatening disease that has no cure. There is little that can be done, other than let it run it's course. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease, affecting nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The motor neurons die and the brain can't control muscle movement and can cause paralysis, eventually leading to death. And if that's not enough to get your attention, check out the original ice bucket video.

And throughout this craze of ice bucket videos, the organization has seen an influx of donations, four times more than this time last year. And that is invaluable. And worth having to scroll through the hundreds of videos that I don't necessarily care to see.

Additionally, though every person might not mention ALS in their videos (still don't understand why not), it has caused a spread of awareness. I recall explaining ALS to a few people in the midst of this video fad, so there's that.

Oh yes, and the California drought thing? Turns out it's only wasting around .1% of what people use on a monthly basis. And most of it is going on grass, so that patch of grass is full of gratitude.

So, instead of updating status, stati, statuses to rant about those who are doing the videos or rant about those who are ranting about those doing the videos, find the common ground. It's a great cause that needs your help, so the awareness and donations are worthwhile. Also, recognize that social media is ruffling a few feathers with the constant stream, pun intended. 

My one last stipulation: yes, this plethora of videos has raised money for the organization, but what if the situation was ice bucket AND donate? Imagine the insane rise in funds for ALS. So, if you're still on your ice bucket war path, think about inserting the "AND" and making a difference.

And for any of you who get the idea for me to douse myself, too late.



P.S. If the videos didn't go viral, we also never would have gotten to enjoy this.

ALS Association Website

Thanks for soundin' down.