PLEDGE NOW
Stunt Philanthropy In The Age Of Social Media

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge has just ruled this summer.  Be doused with an icy torrent, or give money for ALS – “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”  It was born in late July.  Exploded on social media.  Swept up big names and celebrities from George W. Bush to LeBron James to Lindsey Lohan to Jeff Bezos.  And swarms of regular folks.  The ALS Association would normally raise a couple million dollars this time of year.  This month, with the challenge – more than $50 million.  It’s astonishing.  Or is it “slacktivism?” This hour On Point:  the Ice Bucket Challenge, and giving in the age of social media.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nancy Frates, mother of Pete Frates, an ALS patient in Massachusetts.

Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. (@stacypalmer)

Lucie Bruijn, chief scientist at the ALS Association.

Michael Hiltzik, columnist at the Los Angeles Times. (@hiltzikm)

John McDermott, staff reporter at Digiday. (@mcdermott)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: Why Did the Ice Bucket Challenge Go Big? Boston — “New data from the Facebook data science team heavily supports one theory: that the ice bucket challenger originated with Peter Frates, a former captain of the Boston College baseball team. Frates is 29 years old, and he was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. After Frates posted his ice bucket challenge video on July 31, the challenge took off. ”

Los Angeles Times: A few (impolite) questions about the ice bucket challenge — “Stunt philanthropy like the ice bucket challenge doesn’t accommodate these sorts of distinctions and comparisons–it just feeds whatever charity hits on a catchy device and treats all causes as essentially equivalent, distinguished only by their claim on public attention. The result is that ‘the most successful charities will be those that are best at soliciting funds, not those that are best at making the world a better place,’ as the British philanthropic organizer William MacAskill puts it.”

Digiday: Why Facebook is for ice buckets, Twitter is for Ferguson — “Having a frank discussion about the militarization of the police and America’s painful racial history indeed seems incongruous next to baby photos and engagement announcements. But Facebook’s inability to foster such topical conversations undercuts its recent efforts — introducing trending topics, placing more value on ‘high-quality content’ — to become a veritable news provider.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 24, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Vietnamese Communist party secretary general Nguyen Phu Trong at the Central Office of the Communist Party of Vietnam in Hanoi, Vietnam, Monday, May 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama’s in Vietnam and Japan. The G7, Hiroshima and his pivot to Asia are all on the table. We look at the big picture.

May 24, 2016
Activist and author Gloria Steinem. (Carly Romeo / Courtesy Gloria Steinem)

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem explores how violence against women drives global instability in her new show, “Woman.” She’s with us.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 23, 2016
Robin Wright, right, attending the Emmy Awards in 2015 with Kevin Spacey. The pair star in "House of Cards" on Netflix. Wright recently shared that she fought to have an equal salary as Spacey. (Alex Berliner/Invision for the Television Academy/AP)

The pay gap between men and women is much greater in white-collar than blue-collar jobs. We’ll look at why, and what should be done about it.

 
May 23, 2016
A long line of travelers wait for the TSA security check point at O'Hare International airport in Chicago. Some major airports are currently seeing wait times exceeding 90 minutes at peak hours. (Teresa Crawford/AP)

The latest on the EgyptAir crash, and the latest on the TSA and security in the United States.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
‘Best Of’ 2016 Commencement Speeches
Monday, May 16, 2016

Excerpts from a few of the best commencement speeches delivered to the graduating class of 2016.

More »
Comment
 
Caller: Trump is a ‘Yankee moron,’ but I support him
Tuesday, May 10, 2016

“I’m a working man. I’ve worked 13, 14 hours every day. I got two jobs. I got three kids. I got a wife. You know, I’m not a misogynist.”

More »
Comment
 
Devoured: We Are What (And How) We Eat
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

From chicken wings to kale smoothies, we look at what we eat, and how challenging it is to eat well in America.

More »
Comment