Monday, 1 September 2014
Nothing to do with David Beckham
It seems only right to acknowledge that this blog should acknowledge the global phenomenon which is the Ice Bucket Challenge. It seems that half of the world has taken to throwing buckets of iced water over their heads in the name of charity. My family and I have all had a go, in the name of Macmillan rather than ALS, as have most people that I know.
There is now the inevitable backlash over water shortages and so on. All of which arguments I do understand.
However, in an early post (Tour de Yorkshire, de France, de Sky's the Limit), I wrote about where science might take us in terms of geographical spread of families and the search for future family history data. In my last post, I was musing on family ties and what they mean now. Perhaps the Ice Bucket Challenge might eventually come to be seen as the start of global charity efforts and then global co-operation (I can dream, people, I can dream!). Sure, we have had Live Aid and other global campaigns but nothing as big as the challenge has been achieved by social media alone, as far as I know.
Even if you discount the fundraising aspect, the challenge is a true indicator of the combined power of the media with which we surround ourselves. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to post the evidence; bloggers (!), news websites, TV and press to discuss and disseminate the challenge; texting to instantly donate. All without a central leadership! The no-make-up selfies earlier in the year were similar, though not nearly as popular and without the seeming longevity. Amazingly powerful.
We cannot fool ourselves that the whole world has been mobilised when so many millions are unaware of the challenge or have no interest and when so many have far more important things to worry about, like staying alive from one day to the next.
But since this blog is partly about the use of modern technologies, by newbies like me, to further family history research, it is heartening to see that these technologies can bring people together in a good cause as well as selfish ones.
It was also going to be an opportunity to post a lovely pic of David Beckham doing the challenge but I have resisted temptation in the interests of a short but serious attempt to discuss the challenge.... oh what the hell... here he is....