NMR Exclusive: The Impact of “Kony 2012”

By now you’ve probably heard a certain Joseph Kony flooding your Facebook news feed or your Twitter page. For those of you not in the loop, the San Diego-based non-profit Invisible Children released a video called “KONY 2012” to make Kony, the leader of the Ugandan militant group Lord’s Resistance Army and war criminal, recognized worldwide. Since the nearly half-hour video made its YouTube debut Monday, more than 4 million views have been registered and it has been the top trending topic on Twitter.

How did one video of a relatively obscure conflict in Africa and one of its most hated warlords become a social media phenomenon? Here’s the breakdown of what they’ve done so far:


Humanizing The Campaign

The video and the campaign to bring awareness to the Ugandan warlord would not have been possible without outreach through the major social media networks. Kitty Lee, marketing and media assistant for Invisible Children, said to NMR, “[Social media]’s a way to put a face with a company. It makes us more real, it bridges the gap.” The video’s impact has gone beyond the 4 million views and has brought people who are not normally in tune to social awareness issues more interested in this decades-long battle that has claimed so many lives.


Exceeding Expectations

When Invisible Children released “KONY 2012,” Lee said that the original goal was to garner half a million views on YouTube by the end of the year. In only a matter of two days, 4 million views were counted and Lee said it “was the dream” to have the video viewed by so many people and have the conversation go beyond YouTube. She added, “The goal is to make the film KONY2012 viral and the best way to do that is to push it out over our social media platforms. It’s also a great way to correspond with our supporters and make information easily available to them.”


A Call to Action

While man documentaries only bring just a view of the situation, Invisible Children went beyond by urging a social media campaign to get the most influential celebrities and politicians to find a solution in bringing Kony to justice. The ending of the half-hour video prompts viewers to a day of action on April 20 called Cover the Night, where volunteers put up posters, stickers and flyers to make the world aware of the Lord’s Resistance Army leader. Lee said, “The goal is to make Kony more than just a household name. When people know who he is and what he is doing, they will demand he is brought to justice.”

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