The “Kony 2012 Invisible Children” Internet phenomenon
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 blog, facebook 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.