A Cold, Hard Look: Focus Group Analysis of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Public Deposited

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  • February 26, 2019
  • Coy, Shannon
    • Affiliation: School of Media and Journalism
  • The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a social media craze that took over social media in the summer of 2014. It was vastly successful movement, raising over $100 million for ALS organizations and spreading awareness about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease of the brain and spinal cord. The reasons for the campaign’s success are very intriguing, and might offer practical knowledge for communication strategists looking to use social networking sites to spread messages and gather support. Through focus group sessions conducted at UNC-Chapel Hill, this study attempted to understand the movement in relation to college students. The study sought to discover college student’s general opinions towards the campaign, to learn what reasons motivated participation (or non-participation) in the challenge, and ideas about what factors contributed to the campaign’s virality. Results indicated that the social nature of the campaign gave way for not only its success, but also its primary critiques. Future research might consider how social activism online is changing the function of social networking sites and could have impacts on the types of users that remain online.
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  • In Copyright
  • Funding: None
  • Hester, Joe Bob
  • Bachelor of Arts
Honors level
  • Highest Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 67 p.

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