Seconds after I got home last night; “Have you seen Kony 2012 trending on twitter? All the kids are talking about Rihanna, Beyonce, and even Stephen Fry tweeting about it…” My first thought, I’ve been left behind by 13 year olds, then the obligatory, “I’ve had a busy day, and no I haven’t.” “Well can you see if it’s suitable to show my form tomorrow morning?” So I dutifully investigated.
Invisible Children have created a viral video outlining the actions of Joseph Kony. Using the hashtags #Kony2012, #StopKony, and the phrase “Make Kony Famous”, Invisible Children’s cause was trending worldwide in hours. By targeting the key gatekeepers to the masses – celebrities or culturemakers – Invisible Children have gained more support in 24 hours than in their past 9 years of activity.
A look on Social Mention, reveals a strength ratio of 99% (mentions in last 24 hours divided by total possible mentions) for both #StopKony and #Kony2012, and a sentiment of 3:1 in favour. The video alone has well over 15million views less than 96 hours after release. What marks this out from the usual ‘viral video de jour’ is that this video isn’t a Hollywood Megamercial or a dancing M&M, it’s about warlords, genocide and human rights.
But, who are Invisible Children? There are indeed legitimate concerns about their strategy and finances. Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they haven’t had their finances externally audited. They’re a group in favour of direct military intervention via the less than reputable national Ugandan Army. Plus it seems the majority of their income goes towards creating campaigns such as this (actually the 11th in a long production line). Musa Okwonga offers an insightful background to the rights and wrongs of supporting this campaign in The Indy.
However it is undeniable that as a viral video, it’s objective [Tick] and sentiment [Tick]. However, as an ongoing social media campaign will it create that longed for ‘stickiness’? As a mobilisation tool - how many will actually participate in the April 20th event? For that we must wait and see.
My conclusion? Show it to them, it’s a beneficial way to educate them about social media campaigning and viral marketing, whilst also providing an understanding to both sides of the morality debate and - they’ve probably watched it already too. I wrote down a few simple points about public relations including a watered down version of the CIPR definition, I also asked to put the question to them “do you know what PR is?” Apparently she’s setting some homework about social media campaigning too. I’ll let you know the results.
If you haven’t checked out the video, have a look when you’ve got a spare half hour;