How Social Media Raises Medical Awareness

How Social Media is Changing the Way We Increase Awareness

In a world where social media saturates our everyday perception of reality, some of us question the significance of Facebook statuses, the importance of 140 character commentaries, and the influx of professional photographers conceived through Instagram. Is there a point for all of this time we waste sitting on social media? Were we better off when our favorite social media platforms didn’t exist, or can their power be used for good? And that’s when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took over almost every social media platform.

(Video via Nice Vines)

The Impact of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Two summers ago, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took the digital world by storm. Thousands of people were intrigued by the idea of challenging their friends to dunk themselves into freezing cold water or to donate money. Whether you made your own Ice Bucket Challenge video or you donated money, you were part of the craze that helped support and spread awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

With the help of celebrities like Oprah, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, the challenge quickly transitioned from a fundraising campaign to a viral Internet sensation. In fact, the searches for ALS went up an astonishing amount, from 500 to 68,000 in August 2015 alone.


Image via Flickr

To date, the money raised by this social campaign has reached over $100 million dollars. With this significant increase in donations, scientists were able to discover a new gene tied to the disease. According to The New York Times, the money was delegated to the following:

  • $77 million went to research.
  • $23 million went to patient and community services.
  • $10 million went to public and professional education.
  • $3 million went to fundraising.
  • $2 million went to payment processing fees.

A once underfunded disease with no current cure was able to generate enough revenue to expedite scientific research while also raised awareness and changed public perception of disease as a whole; all through the power of a bucket of ice!

Changing the Public Perception of Disease Through Social Media

Social media has the power to change the perception of disease. The desensitization of stereotypes conditions us to think differently. Because the Internet grants us instant accessibility and connectivity, we’re able to learn, grow, and understand things much quicker than before.

We’re no longer afraid to share our stories of our own self-described detriments. Through awareness and social media presence, we’re taking strides to positively change public perception and empower those who live with the conditions that afflict them. We show our support through pictures and hashtags, by inviting others to share stories of those not normally heard, and helping others through the comfort of online commentary.

Raising awareness on social media can help send a message, get attention, and open the door to people talking about the issue. At first glance, it might not seem like much, but when you sift through the rants and circulating memes, you soon realize the true power of correlation. If employed properly, social media is a powerful aggregate for medical education.

Start a Medical Awareness Campaign

If you want to bring awareness to a medical condition, get started by doing your research and starting a social media campaign. Set a goal and start raising awareness through your own platforms while finding a fun and interesting way to get people involved and wanting to support the cause!