I was away on vacation last week in Europe. Being a good, modern American thinker, I got my news on social media. Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall. Horshack. (Horshack?). The tragedy and drama in tiny, Ferguson, Mo. And for a refreshing change of pace, something called the Ice Bucket Challenge.
It seems that a social-media phenomenon has exploded in which people spill a bucket of ice water over their heads and pass on the challenge to three friends, all of whom then donate $100 each to ALS research.
Sure, it sounds whacky and perfect for our self-obsessed times. But think about all the money that we can now contribute to trying to curb one of the most insidious illnesses imaginable?
If we can employ a segment of social media to get the word out, let's go for it.
For once, we can hold up Facebook and Twitter as pro-society innovations and not merely tools of narcissism. It's a nice departure from the usual.
Let's hope that the ice bucket brigade is only the start of dynamic expressions of trying to help life our society through mass communications.
If nothing else, it gets us moving in the right direction when it comes to harnessing the unlimited personal power of the 1.3 billion Facebook purveyors today. The examples of today's billionaires who try to use their wealth to solve the problems of the poor around the world have helped set a "giving" tone everywhere.
Now, the rest of us can do something positive, too. It's much more fun posting a photo of yourself pouring a bucket of cold water over your head than it is to do it, actually. And if you can poke fun at yourself while giving away a nice amount of money, all the better.
For once, we can thank social media for doing something that makes our world better. Let's hope that this is only the first step.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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