Who says hashtags and selfies are a waste of time?
The social media trend #nomakeupselfie has garnered more than £2 million (or $3.3 million) in funding for Cancer Research UK, the organization announced on Twitter on Thursday. What's more, the impressive sum was raised within 48 hours.
It all started earlier this week, when group officials noticed social media users were tagging photos with #nomakeupselfie and #cancerawareness, apparently in an effort to support the fight against the disease, the Independent reports.
Cancer Research UK then stepped in and told folks how to actually use those hashtags for tangible results. On Tuesday, the group set up a text donation number and encouraged people to give £3 (about $4).
Millions were soon raised for cancer research.
— Emma Newton (@newtonemmax) March 20, 2014
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) March 21, 2014
— Helen Anderson (@Melonladybaby) March 21, 2014
Though they weren't involved in initiating the trend, the group's elated by the results.
"We're over the moon. When we do a social media campaign we want to engage as many people as possible, and this has taken off like crazy," Aaron Eccles, Cancer Research UK's head of social media, told the Guardian.
Other health awareness organizations have since jumped on the bandwagon, including the British Lung Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society, which has so far raised more than £400,000 ($551,760) in donations.
— Irish Cancer Society (@IrishCancerSoc) March 21, 2014
But many are on the fence about the trend. Here's what skeptics are asking: Is this just narcissism masked as charity?
"You can’t help but wince at the fact uploading a picture of what you actually look like is now being deemed ‘brave’, especially when being held up against cancer," Yomi Adegoke wrote in a blog for the Independent on Wednesday. "The only ‘awareness’ it seems to be promoting is self. Despite good intentions it’s coming across as smug and self congratulatory, for doing very little and let’s be honest - if you’re not donating, what are you doing bar seeking praise for having the cojones to ditch the contour?"