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#Kony2012

I remember the first time I saw an Invisible Children presentation at my high school; the organization travelled around the country explaining the struggles in Uganda, displaying their now-famous documentaries, and selling merchandise to raise funds for their cause. Even if we count my high school population as the average (3000, so it’s large and definitely not the average), and Invisible Children managed to speak to a different high school every day for every school week, they would still only reach about 700,000 people, including room for some school staff, per year. In addition, the awareness was restrained to our country and many viewers were repeat listeners. With the onset of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, Invisible Children’s new campaign, Kony 2012, went viral around the world in four days. From March 6-8, 2012, their newest documentary was viewed over 40 million times on YouTube and over 13 million on Vimeo, in addition to millions of shares and over nine million tweets containing the words Kony or #StopKony.
The sudden viral success achieved by this campaign is best attributed to filmmaker, Jason Russell’s, social media strategy involving targeting celebrities to initially get the word out, with loyal followers quickly hitting share themselves. In the article, http://www.anunconventionalwar.com/uploads/How_Kony_Video_Went_Viral.pdf, it is noted that “that last part [‘they already have a strong network of people who are […] structurally disconnected from one another’] was most important because it means the message can be inserted into a diverse range of youth conversations all at once.” In other words, the ability of anyone to connect to people in prominent social positions allows the quick sharing of data, despite a one-sided relationship.

This new way of “clicking” away for a mutual cause correlates well to the ideas of lift and link sharing discussed in problem six of homework one. Due to, in the initial stages of the social media plan, the link and corresponding hashtags were shared by celebrities and, therefore, reshared quickly by loyal followers wishing to spread the cause into their friend groups. In the homework problem, as in class, we discuss how a user may be more likely to share the link if they feel that more of their friends haven’t seen it yet. However, this fad also reached the converse of the effect where, quite quickly, it seemed as though everybody in most friend circles had distributed the link, so the link continued in popularity due to pressure. Ultimately, social media provides an entirely new outlet for organizations to distribute a message, especially emotional responses that can be boiled down to perfectly crafted 140 character phrases and hashtags. The share button may very well be the new bake sale fundraiser. #StopKony

 

Additional Sources: http://www.townshipschools.com/userfiles/1122/Classes/66216/NYTimes%20-%20Distant%20Conflict%20No%201.pdf

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