The challenge itself has all the key ingredients needed to go viral.
- It’s simple, straight forward, and easy for someone to participate. A person gets tagged on Facebook (a public channel that they can’t ignore). They take a video of themselves pouring a bucket of ice water on their heads. Then they tag a friend who does the same thing. Easy.
- It ties into a person’s ego. They have permission to take a video of themselves and post it online. In our selfie-crazed culture, this is appealing.
- It’s social. You can’t do the ice bucket challenge alone. Someone has to tag you and then you tag someone else. The challenge is innately social. Furthermore, the social concept ties back to my point on ego. Not only does the challenge spread because of the person-to-person social structure, but it’s also cleverly designed to showcase a person’s social status. Who are you good enough friends with that they would nominate you? And who do you know well enough that you would nominate them? Mark Zuckerberg nominates Bill Gates. Martha Stewart nominates Blake Lively. And then we all talk about it. It’s happening on micro-levels too, I guarantee. The head cheerleader just nominated the football captain. Social status confirmed.
- It’s designed to spread on social platforms. In fact, it requires them. Just like you can’t do the challenge alone, you also can’t participate without posting it on a social platform like Facebook or Twitter. It’s part of the rules. It’s how you challenge the next person. Clever.
- It’s connected to a cause that resonates with people. Not only is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge fun and social, but those who participate know that their actions are tied to a greater mission. It makes them feel good. It gives them purpose. And it encourages them to participate.