In just six days the social media phenomenon which is the #Selfie trend helped raise much awareness of Cancer and the various charities around it. At the time, I saw hundreds of them in my feed in just 24 hours, along with a handful of nay-sayers who said instead of posting a picture you should donate. But those people were seemingly unaware that whilst they took a "selfie" with no make up on an posted it using the hashtag #nomakeupselfie they were also donating to Cancer Research UK, as were their friends.
Within one day there was a unprecedented surge in donations to the tune of £1 million - which alone is staggering.
Today, The Guardian reports that thanks the the trend over the past 6 days, over £8 million has been raised for Cancer Research UK.
Although the trend was not started by Cancer Research UK, it has quickly become a campaign they have endorsed - not only for fundraising but also to raise awareness, as was the original intention of the hashtag.
Cancer Research UK, Chief Executive said:
We don't receive any government funding for our research and so it is phenomenal to think that the generosity of the public is enabling us to fund critical research that we didn't have the money for six days ago. Being able to fund more trials will bring forward the day when all cancers are cured... we would just like to thank everyone again for their support.
If you've not taken part yet, do so! Take a picture of you without makeup and tweet it with the hashtag - then donate by texting BEAT to 70 007
Cultural Issues Arising From #NoMakeUpSelfie & #Movember
In trying to get comment from social media experts and digital marketing leaders, I hit an issue. A great big issue.
It's called Sexism.
Now, we live in a world where sexism is frowned upon in the workplace, and every other aspect of life. However, this trend we are seeing with campaigns like the #nomakeupselfie #movember #gocommando #rockthelips and others seem to unsettle people more online than I've ever know.
Each sex has it's fair share of offline campaigns for all kinds of groups you may wish to subscribe to, I am not really sure why when this translate to the web it all changes and suddenly everyone freezes up. I don't see this as sexism, anything but really. I see this as showing the world that a simple action such as posting a photo with a hashtag, growing a beard or wearing red lip stick is simply using ourselves to empower change in the world. Not only do these campaigns raise a lot of funds, but more than anything they raise awareness - now awareness won't cure cancer, it won't stop poverty, but it will switch more people on to these issues such that they are talked about and stop being taboo subjects.
Cancer is often known as "The Big C" yes because it's scary but also because people don't feel comfortable talking about it. Yet, research shows that 1 in 3 adults in the UK will be diagnosed with a form of cancer during their lifetime - Assuming this is the case (and I believe it is) then almost every person in the UK at some point will be touched by cancer in one way or another. But still no one wants to ever talk about it. We need to change that, we as a country (and across the world) need to talk about cancer and not just let it slip under the radar.
We as community online each year do something to buck the trend of keeping causes like this under the radar. As a male, I looked at this trend and thought about how cool it was raising awareness for cancer, many friends took part and donated. I then donated - it made me feel good (i wont deny that). And then I did something, something important and that until yesterday I hadn't linked to the #nomakeupselfie trend...
I checked myself ...for any unusual lumps that I hadn't spotted before or that had changed in size, shape or colour.
So, not only has it raised overall awareness of Cancer, & raised funds for cancer charities, and not only has it got people talking about it - helping to remove the stigma attached to talking about it, but it's also meant that millions of people across the world will have checked themselves just as I have. To me, this last bit is the biggest achievement of all - from such a little thing as posting a picture many people will (unfortunately and fortunately) be spotting something and getting it checked by a professional. Catching cancer early can make a big difference to the potential recovery of that person, and the effect it has on family and friends.
Let's stop this "oh but it's sexist" nonsense, it isn't - not one bit. Let's stop pretending that these small social media campaigns are dumb, as many claimed last week. Lets continue to raise awareness of cancer and talking about it openly.
And finally, lets all check ourselves and encourage others to do that same.
Src of featured image theguardian.com