One of my high school buddies, John Ruffalo, pulled the trigger on something I had been hoping to avoid, the ALS ice bucket challenge. You know, the one where you pour ice water over your head to avoid making a donation to the ALS research organization. (Although it seems that most of the people doing the water drop are also ponying up the donation anyway.)
If you read this blog regularly, I’m not a fan of “me-too” social media memes. I’ve written about the copycat video themes that have been done to death because people can’t think of a better way to express themselves creatively. It seems to me that if you are trying to stand out in a crowded social media world, the worst thing you can do is do a social media party trick exactly the same way that everyone else did it.
Social media has one major thing going for it, and that is the unbridled opportunity to express yourself uniquely. And yet the people using it seem unwilling or unable to take advantage of that blank canvas. To me, this whole social media thing is like owning my own TV and radio station — a fantasy I’ve had since my teens, but one that no longer seems necessary with the advent of fast computers that can render video quickly, YouTube as a broadcast transmitter, and my website as a publishing engine.
So I accepted John’s challenge, but I responded to it with my own creative approach, stretching my video skills to see if I could reimagine the challenge in a funny, irreverent, but responsible way. I didn’t want to just dismiss the meme — millions of people are still doing it — but I wanted to make it meaningful for me.
The other thing I thought was missing from most of the videos I saw was any effort to add context to the ice dumping. No one seemed to want to talk about the illness for which they were getting drenched. So mine includes some words about the disease and why I felt it was important for people to help. A call to action.
So my video includes comedy, special effects, and a call to action for a disease that’s hitting close to home for us, Parkinson’s Disease, which has afflicted several of our close friends. P.S., to my friends in the PR community, watch carefully, there’s an “Easter Egg” in the video that you should recognize if you’ve ever done media interview training.
See what you think, and help us wipe out Parkinson’s Disease, or donate to any other important charity trying to make the world a little bit less hostile.
And take the opportunity to challenge your creative forces to come up with your own response to the call for ice water!
What do you think? What is your fantasy life ambition? How can you bring it to realization on the ‘Net? Comment below or make your own video!