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The “Kony 2012 Invisible Children” Internet phenomenon

March 11, 2012

"Kony 2012 director, Jason Russell, with Jacob (click to view video in YouTube)

Over the past few days, a new hashtag, #Kony2012, started showing up with increasing frequency in my Twitter stream. A quick check today showed that a new twitter message containing this hashtag is published every two seconds. The related “Official Invisible Children” Twitter account (@Invisible) currently has 400,500 followers. So what’s all the chatter about? I followed the links to the “Kony 2012” video on YouTube. I was viewer #65,969,792. That’s right, almost 66 million people have viewed this video on YouTube – and it was uploaded only fide days ago! Another 16 million people have seen it on Vimeo over the same period. Apparently, the film is attracting more than just attention — it has also attracted a substantial amount of money from viewers who have been moved by the story and were motivated enough to sign a pledge and make a donation (“A minimum monthly commitment of $15 is required to receive the Kony 2012 Action Kit”). In addition to the Twitter account, the campaign is supported by a blogfacebook page, and Pinterst site.

The description of the video on YouTube states that:

KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.

The Invisible Children Website, declares (in all capitals) that:

INVISIBLE CHILDREN USES FILM, CREATIVITY AND SOCIAL ACTION TO END THE USE OF CHILD SOLDIERS IN JOSEPH KONY’S REBEL WAR AND RESTORE LRA-AFFECTED COMMUNITIES IN CENTRAL AFRICA TO PEACE AND PROSPERITY.

As the film’s director, Jason Russell, explains in a recent video uploaded to Vimeo, they are having trouble keeping up with orders for the Action Kits, T-shirts, posters and other merchandise. Watch the Kony 2012 video, then do a bit of research. I started with an article published by the New York Times, “Online, a Distant Conflict Soars to Topic No. 1“, a guest post in the Foreign Policy blog, “Joseph Kony is not in Uganda (and other complicated things)“, and “Invisible Children: ‘Kony 2012’ Campaign Isn’t Just ‘Passing Fad“, from the Huffington Post. Aslo see Alex Jones (@InfowarsFeed) discuss “KONY 2012 Exposed“. Local media have also highlighted the story. For example, the New Zealand Herald picked up a report from the Associated Press that discusses the runaway success of the campaign.

Note: One hour after publishing this, I added another still from the “Kony 2012” video to the top of the post. During that time, nearly 3 million more people viewed the video on YouTube.

A still from Jason Russell's 30-minute video, "Kony 2012" (click to view in YouTube)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2012 1:35 am

    Let’s act like humans and stop KONY. Help us stop him, use the following link: http://on.fb.me/yFkSqy

  2. Dino A permalink
    March 14, 2012 1:03 am

    Did you see this in your research?

    • Mark McGuire permalink
      March 14, 2012 7:40 pm

      Hi Dino

      Thanks for the link to this YouTube video, which I just watched. She makes several good points. The Kony 2012 video is a good example of the triumph of form over content. It seems convincing to some, not because of the information (with is full of partial truths), but because of the way that it is presented. I’ll have to look into this further!

      Mark

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