(Post via Stephanie Bluma at Weber Shandwick’s Social Impact blog)
In a world of texts, tweets and Facebook posts, the filmmakers of Kony2012 asked us for 27 minutes. The result, as we all know, has been the biggest viral video of all time. It’s been viewed more then 100 million times—that is more than twice the population of Uganda, where the story of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) began in 1986. We’ve all been watching the phenomena of Kony2012 and following the subsequent backlash. The spread of the video and the conversation it sparked have been astounding. Social media has indeed changed the game in how you build an advocacy movement.
Still, the critics are out in full force — as they were with the Save Darfur movement — pointing out what’s wrong with the video’s simplification of a complicated story, its white-man’s-burden thematic, and its questionable call to action. The filmmakers have responded directly saying the video is an entry point and that they want people to dig deeper. The verdict is still out on if that is really happening.
So what is it that made us “pay attention” to this story? With all the videos, campaigns, events addressing issues around the globe how did this one rise to the top? And, importantly, will this video result in long-term engagement?
Over the next few days we will attempt to answer these questions. We hope you will join us and share your thoughts and comments.
P.S. Most recently, the video’s lack of voices from the ground is stirring debate. Yesterday, a projector was set up in Northern Uganda to show the film. So while we continue to debate its merits, the people who survived the tragic nightmare of the LRA were actually able to watch it. The early reviews aren’t good. Watch for thoughts on this soon from our own Deanna Petersen in Johannesburg.
Image courtesy of pierre bedat.