Gone are the days of the ‘videos are too difficult to make’ excuse. Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone and they all have photo and video capabilities. On top of that, there are dozens of user-generated video sharing platforms such as Vine, YouTube and Vimeo, as well as a myriad of social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr that allow you to embed and share these videos.
The 21st Century marks the era of user-generated video content and 2014 has showcased this perfectly through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, as you very well would have seen a lot of by now, is a viral social media challenge that urges someone to dump a bucket of ice cold water on someone’s head to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The participant then nominates three others to complete the challenge also, or offer a charitable donation to the relevant ALS foundation.
These videos have been rampant from July 2014 to present on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and has seen notable celebrities, politicians, sportspeople and everyday citizens surrender to a brain freeze in the name of ALS. Wikipedia has collated an expansive list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_notable_Ice_Bucket_Challenge_participants) of notable people who have completed the challenge, along with links to their videos; the list includes actors like Harrison Ford, Charlie Sheen and Jessica Alba, to Stephen Spielberg, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, to members of Coldplay, One Direction and Katy Perry and event United States former president, George W. Bush. Suffice to say that this phenomenon has spread far and wide to varying members of society.
The New York Times reported that people shared 1.2 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos on Facebook between early-June and mid-August and that American’s ALS Association has received $41.8 million in donations between July 29 and August 21.
While this is an astounding amount and by all means an incredible win for all ALS charities worldwide, the Ice Bucket Challenge is a testament to how accessible it is to create user-generated video content in this day and age. All it takes is a friend with a steady hand and an iPhone, a Wi-Fi connection that is as commonly found as McDonald’s and an account with a social media network website such as Facebook. Mashable called the phenomenon the ‘Harlem Shake’ of this year – we’re not surprised and we know there will be no end to these viral user-generated videos from here on in.
Watch this space.