#ALSIceBucketChallenge not accept…


To be clear this isn’t an attack on ALS the charity, and you can choose to do what you personally like. However these are my views and opinions, what you have is a choice…

Shane nominated me and Chris for the ALS Ice-bucket challenge on Twitter and Facebook.

I heard about the challenge but that was about a year ago, so I looked it up on wikipedia. And also looked around the web to find out what people were saying about it.

I personally hate and reject social pressure, it tends to bring out the   rebel in me. The Icebucket challenge on the surface of it seems to be harmless but deep down it seems to have the same tones as a pyramid scheme and a whole dollop of social engineering. Strong words but as I said this brings out the worst in me.

As of Thursday the “Ice Bucket Challenge” had raised over $41 million. And yes, it’s probably true that this kind of cash would not have been raised if a long list of famous people hadn’t videoed themselves dumping ice water on themselves.

But a couple of points. First, wasn’t the original idea that you were challenged to EITHER dump water on your head OR make a charitable donation? Because that’s what President Obama did when he was challenged by Ethel Kennedy. (Which was, admittedly, a pretty big guilt trip. Ethel Kennedy is 86 years old and she’s also, well, a Kennedy, so ignore that challenge at your peril.)

Guilt trip…! Yes and because its public and in the open, it adds social pressure.

At a recent dinner party, I discussed with friends and Shane why I hated the idea and compared it to things I mentioned before. Most seemed to think it wasn’t a big deal, why was I getting so worked up about the whole thing? Just do it or don’t? To which I started to go off on one comparing it to the confidence tricks and the problem with compliance (complete story)!

Well to cut things short, I decided after reading and sleeping on it. I’m not going to take part, not because I’m scared of getting ice cold water over my head (although its been suggested someone like me may pass out?). Not because I don’t want to donate money to charity and not because I don’t care.

Cornering me into a corner and saying pay or/and put ice water over your head is not something I recommend. I can already imagine all the other charities trying to come up with their own versions, although you can suggest the no make-up selfie was similar? Guilt tripping and social engineering the general public into going along with the flow for a quiet life. I wonder how many of them, actually paid the charity? Did Shane? He did. But have we sunk to such a level that charity can only get money by social engineering and compliance techniques ? (I imagine yes but this feels a step further that I’d like to think)

As I said its not about the money, so I have paid an extra sum to the open rights group (the UK  equivalent of the EFF) instead of to a charity which uses social engineering to convince people to donate to them.

I imagine there will be backlash against my decision but I’m sticking with it and leave the question to everybody getting involved in the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, are you doing it because you care, think it will be a laugh or feeling the social pressure? Deep down, if nobody recommended you for it, would you do it?

Think about it and don’t take the easy way out, do what feels right to you! Donate if you want to, take the icebucket if you want, but don’t be a sheep, think about it!

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

5 thoughts on “#ALSIceBucketChallenge not accept…”

  1. I haven’t been challenged, but I had already decided I would decline any such challenge for pretty much the exact reasons you lay out. “Do this or pay up!”—that’s usually called extortion. I know, I know, it’s a viral lark and all in a good cause. Regardless, my charitable contributions are my own affair and I’ll not be bullied about it.

    (It’s possible that I feel this way due to my personal circumstances, but I’m pretty sure I’d have had the same reaction even without recent events.)

    1. Thanks Eric, good to hear I’m not the only one. Your right your charitable donations are private if you want them to be. Whose business is it to tell you to choose one or another.
      I’m sorry to hear about Rebecca and hope for the best. It would be almost criminal to not support a charity which you believe and trust in. Anybody who doesn’t understand this really has no heart or mind of their own!

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