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21 Mar 2014

Influencer of the week – Cancer Research UK

Posted on March 21, 2014 by

This week’s social media agenda has been largely dominated by a new trend known as #Nomakeupselfie, which resulted in £1m being donated to a charity in just 24 hours.

Since Tuesday, nationally Facebook News Feeds have been full to the brim with selfies of bare-faced ladies who have been nominated by their friends to rid themselves of make-up, to raise awareness of cancer and increase donations to Cancer Research UK.

How does it work? The idea behind the popular online campaign is very simple: girls remove their make-up, take a photo, donate £3 to charity and then nominate their friends to do the same.

Since Tuesday, Cancer Research UK has seen almost £2m in unexpected donations. Although it didn’t start the #Nomakeupselfie hashtag, the charity was quick to get involved, posting: “Thousands of you are posting #cancerawareness #nomakeupselfie pictures and many have asked if the campaign is ours. It’s not but we love that people want to get involved!” on its Google + page.

So if Cancer Research UK didn’t start the campaign, who did?

This remains uncertain as the media have reported different sides to the story. The Telegraph says the trend seemed to have begun with author Laura Lippman who posted a picture of her face without make-up in support of actress Kim Novak who was criticised for her looks. Yet, Closer Online believe it has been inspired by the DaretoBare campaign, launched in 2013, for women across the country to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer UK.

Either way, this week’s influencer is Cancer Research UK which grabbed hold and took ownership of the phenomenon, raising awareness and funds in the process.

Celebrities such as Kim Marsh, Michelle Heaton and Imogen Thomas have joined the fun, posting their photos on Twitter and Instagram.

People have mostly been donating via text, but the charity’s shops have also seen a rise in donations.

Whilst it did take me almost a week to pluck up the courage to take my own #Nomakeupselfie, I got there eventually, after some serious peer-pressure. But it was pleasing to know that it wasn’t just another social media trend like #Necknominate. It’s making a real difference to funds raised for Cancer Research UK, and that’s all I need to know.

However, the trend has sparked a narcissism vs awareness debate. It’s been hit by a backlash of criticism from social media users, who are concerned that taking a picture of yourself without make-up isn’t actually raising awareness of cancer. However, the fact that over 800,000 people donated to the cause in just 24 hours suggests otherwise?

And the trend has influenced other online campaigns, such as #Manupandmakeup and #sellotapeselfie. Whilst the latter appears to be another pointless craze of people wrapping their faces in sellotape, #Manupmakeup shares a similar mantra to #Nomakeupselfie.  British men have taken photos of themselves wearing make-up and donated to Prostate Cancer UK. A Facebook page has been created which now has 1,184 likes and the author hopes that it will be as successful as #nomakeupselfie which has hundreds of thousands of participants. Whilst this could just be a case of men feeling left out, now that girls have something new and exciting to be involved in, it will certainly have a positive effect on money raised for Prostate Cancer UK, so you can’t argue with that!

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