The ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ By The Numbers

Internet trends come and go. They have their ephemeral day in the sun and dissipate almost as fast as they arrive. Everything from gyrating to the Harlem Shake to dancing Gangnam Style to planking and Tebowing, catching the world’s zeitgeist in a viral wave can cause a slew of social media activity where you almost feel left out if you don’t join in and/or critique it in some fashion.

Such is the case with the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ — except in this instance we finally have an Internet movement that actually can make a difference in people’s lives. In addition to bringing a smile to your face, the actual act of "ice bucketing" can increase the fundraising efforts for a very worth charity.

Why ALS?

Raising money and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease is the root cause for the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.’ For those unaware, ALS is a  debilitating illness that’s almost invariably fatal, with many victims living two to five years after symptoms first appear, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers are still struggling to understand its causes.

The Awareness Factor

The premise and execution of the challenge is fairly simple and fun and are probably the major reasons it’s swept the country as fast as it has. For those uninitiated, it involves folks getting doused with literally buckets of ice water with the intent of video taping and posting the event while nominating others of your friends and family members to do the same. That creates the awareness.

The Donation Factor

For this who refuse to take on the challenge, they are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice. (The commonly suggested donation is $100.)

The success of the challenge can be found in the stats now being collated, where the ALS Association cited as of August 189, 2014 - it’s received $22.9 million in donations since July 29, compared to only $1.9 million in the same period last year.

The Origin

The origin of the challenge is questionable. Some give credit to pro golfer Chris Kennedy, who did the ice-bucket challenge July 15 and then challenged his cousin Jeanette Senerchia. Her husband, Anthony, has had ALS for 11 years. The next day, Senerchia had her daughter film her taking the challenge in front of their house and she posted it on Facebook.

However, others acknowledge Pete Frates, 29, the former Boston College baseball star for making the challenge go viral. Frates, who has had ALS since 2012, no longer has the ability to talk or move his arms and legs. With the song "Ice Ice Baby" playing, Frates was drenched at Fenway Park surrounded by family members, Boston Red Sox manager, John Farrell, and third baseman, Will Middlebrooks.

More Social Media Stats

The ice-bucketing craze has been mentioned 2.2 million times on Twitter between June 01 and August 13. At the same time video posts on Facebook have topped 2.4 million as of Aug. 18, according to

Facebook released additional statistics August 15, showing that 15 million people across the social network have posted about, commented or liked a post related to the ‘ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.’ People have also posted more than 1.2 million videos.

Facebook also posted the following graphic where Boston is featured as the epicenter, and each line emanating from that point across the country represents at least 10 connections between nominator and nominees.

Corporate America gets Doused as well. . .

Even the corporate world is entering the fray. Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza challenged rival airline leaders to take the popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge after participating in the viral fundraising campaign himself.

Spirit tweeted a video of Baldanza being dosed with ice water with messages directed to the CEOs of JetBlue, American and Delta airlines.

Who’s Best at Ice Bucketing?

With over a million participants to date, it’s difficult to assess who’s the best at the challenge. After all, how do you judge who has submitted themselves best at a proper ice-cold soaking. Celebrities, of course are receiving the most attention because after all who doesn’t like to see the rich and famous taking a licking every now and again - including folks like Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah.

But after reviewing hundreds of funny entries, at the end of the day, I would have to tip my hat, errhh bucket to one submitted by “Vinesdominicano” who came up with a new twist for the Internet craze. See if you don’t agree.