Audience Participation- Ice bucket challenge

When I think of audience participation, the first media related source that comes to mind would be YouTube. The site is basically run by its audience, anyone with a camera or other recording device can easily make a video and post their content online almost immediately. So when the ALS Ice-bucket challenge came about, the idea went viral quickly, mostly because of this platform of social media. The cause awareness was so successful because of the participation of the public and also celebrities who would show their support too. The idea of pouring a bucket of ice cold water over your head or your friend’s became a challenge, this increasing the participation as people would be dared to do it and then post their videos too essential challenging someone else. The game didn’t just exist on YouTube however, videos were trending throughout all social networking sites (Facebook, instagram, twitter) without the initial and continual audience participation of this cause, awareness would not have spread nearly as globally. Funds raised from this awareness reached an excess of $100 million predominately donated by Ice-bucket challenge participants.

Unfortunately a large per portion of participants made their videos not for the cause but for the chance to post a humorous video of themselves which obviously, was not the original intentions of the videos. Since the challenge was introduced, other organisations have taken on this idea to spread awareness in a fun was such as the more recent ‘lipstick smear challenge’ which has mainly taken off on Instagram and promotes the cervical cancer campaign.

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5 Comments

  1. This is a good example of how quickly campaigns can spread through social network sights. That is also part of the audience participation as without the audience it wouldn’t have been as well known. People also did donate to charity which shows that audience participation online can affect people in great ways.

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  2. I’m glad that you said how the campaign has changed, because of audience participation. In the begging, the main goal was realized. However, audience changed the purpose of Ice-bucket challenge. At the end of the campaign, many people didn’t even know that the challenge is for ALS.

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  3. The ice bucket challenge is a great example of audience generated content. Although there was a strong template to the videos, you nominate people, you pledge to donate, then you drown yourself in freezing cold water, everything else was left up to the creator. People got really creative with there videos to make them stand out. Especially when it was famous stars, they go inventive and the content of the videos varied tremendously, even though they followed the same template

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  4. I think viral campaigns are a great example of audience participation as it shows the extremes people go through to be part of an online community. This ‘need’ to be part of a community fuels these campaign instead of the actual cause and could suggests the campaigns failure in it’s attempt to make money.

    However, when trying to raise awareness some may say these campaigns triumph as the video reach a large amount of people very quickly. I personally was not aware of the disease until seeing the ALS challenge yet I still only know the basic which explain why people were doing the video. So is it awareness if people only watch the video without finding out the meaning behind them?

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  5. I really like that you chose a social media campaign and not a social media platform directly. It’s a good example for audience participation as that is obviously what the entire campaign is based on! It was then definitely shaped by its audience as people started to add more and more ideas to it and invited/ challenged more and more of their friends. I do think, though, that the audience of the ice bucket challenge shaped the content of it in a negative way as well, as many people started participating for fun without even knowing the initial meaning of it. Therefore, the audience was responsible for alienating context of the ice bucket challenge to some extent, too, unfortunately.

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