Decoding ALS Ice bucket Challenge

ALS Ice Bucket challenge is getting viral like crazy, Infact people worldwide has donated over $79M to the ALS foundation. But this put me thinking what make it go viral . So I tried to decode this with use of BJ Fogg’s Behavior model.

According to this model when people are persuaded to perform a  behavior, then three factors have come together at once:  Motivation, Ability and a Trigger.



Let’s evaluate the challenge for ABILITY of the individuals. For most of the people to be able to perform a action it should be simple. The ALs challenge follow most of the rules of simplicity as described by  BJ Fogg’s six “elements of simplicity” .

  • Time – How long it takes to complete an action. The process itself may be 15-20 seconds and looks simple but the preparation that goes behind it is definitely time consuming, arranging for bucket full of ice cold water and pouring it all on oneself and also making sure that it is captured perfectly on camera to be shared.
  • Money – The cost of taking an action is not significant here. Aha! but cost of inaction ask you to donate for the cause but that’s only if you choose so.
  • Physical Effort – This is definitely not there to pour a small bucket of water on oneself. It do require mental strength to do this in icy cold weather (That is why it’s a challenge)
  • Brain Cycles  The level of mental effort and focus required to take an action. Fairly low , just keep your hands steady and make sure water is poured on you and not your camera.
  • Social Deviance – How accepted the behaviour is by others. For me  this is the killer here !!! Who’s who of the world has taken this challenge and passed on to the peers. It has grown so much that people are feeling outcast and low if they are yet to be nominated to take the challenge.
  • Non-Routine – How much the action matches or disrupts existing routines. Bit confused here. Pouring water is part of daily routine but pouring cold water and sharing the video is certainly non Routine.

So now I know the challenge was fairly simple (ABILITY) .

What is the Motivation to take up the challenge.  There a mix of both  intrinsic & extrinsic motivation which make people take up this challenge.

So here we have a Time bound challenge (24 Hours or less) which is fairly simple to do and is socially accepted behavior and to top it all you have the ability to perform the same.  You have a chance to get yourself associated with supporting for a CAUSE without any much effort. There is also a feeling of being proud and to be able to do things which celebs and social leaders are associating themselves with.

Ice bucket

So what stops us to take up the challenge and wait while watching the world take it up ? A TRIGGER 

Here the interesting bit, The challenge is fairly simple and people are motivated to do it but everyone waiting for Trigger. Though anyone can take up the challenge but the Trigger is when some one challenge/nominate you. You feel like part of one big network and there is reward at the end of your behavior in form of sense of accomplishment & overcoming a “Challenge” and rooting for a noble cause. We like to beat the Shit out of every challenge. Don’t we ?

Why did I do it ?

All of the above applies to me too ! My trigger : I accepted the challenge by Ramneek Singal and guess what further nominated 3 more to take up the challenge. Here’s the video of mine:

But most of the people miss the point of taking the Ice Bucket challenge … What is ALS?

From the website, “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

Simply it’s a fatal disease which paralyze your brain and  body by progressively killing motor neurons & ultimately result in death.

26. August 2014 by Amit Gupta
Categories: Gamification | Tags: , | 1 comment

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  1. Pingback: Decoding ALS Ice bucket Problem | JanNews Blog

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