Why did something as daft as pouring a bucket of freezing water over your head go global?
The obvious answer is social media. If ever you needed proof of the power of Facebook and Twitter, charity fundraiser the Ice Bucket Challenge is it. It got where water couldn’t. Celebrities and sports champions got unceremoniously sloshed. It raised £60 million in 27 days.
Ordinary people who only ever give to scouts that pack their supermarket shopping? They did it, too. Though the message got diluted somewhat.
Ask what charity first held out the bucket and the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association doesn’t trip off the tongue. Some gave to other charities; some just did it for the hell of it, illustrating one downfall of social media; it can’t be patrolled.
But while social media was the tool, there were reasons as old as time for why the Ice Bucket Challenge went global. It triggered basic human responses; firstly, the desire to be one of the gang, and secondly, our inability to refuse a dare.
Goading someone to go beyond their comfort zone has been going on since Cave Man dared Cave Boy to tweak the sabre toothed tiger’s tail. Ditto our fear of losing face if we don’t rise to a challenge. Both are powerful ways of getting people to face their fears and up their game. If you can stop them tweeting, that is.