There is no denying that we live in a world that is driven by technology and connection. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter allow stories to explode at a rapid pace. We are constantly feed news and gossip and such a pace that it’s sometimes hard to take in. Rarely is the internet used for a good cause and rarely is it done well. Last night I saw what I personally think is the best use of the internet and social media to date.
Disclaimer: Before I start to talk about the Kony 2012 campaign I must admit that I know little about its past and the Invisible Children organisation. I am aware that there is opposition to this campaign for various reasons and am analysing the campaign purely on its use of social media and the power it has had in an incredibly short amount of time.
On the 5th Mar 2012 a video was uploaded to YouTube. The aim of this video is to spread the word and “Make Famous” Joseph Kony. It’s a very wide spread opinion that this man must be arrested for a multitude of unthinkable crimes. The Invisible Children’s aim is to use the internet to make the world aware of this problem. On the morning of the 7th of March I myself became aware of this video. Various comments on the video have stated that the number of views that morning were around the 54 thousand mark. With the ability to share YouTube videos on Facebook and Twitter combined with a compelling message, the video had hit 1 million views by the time I had viewed it a few hours later.
When I got home last night I showed the video to a friend. At 9pm on the 7th of March the video had hit 9.9 million views on YouTube and 8.2 million views on Vimeo. An outstanding accomplishment and what must be one of the fastest growing videos ever. I can’t think of another example of social media been used to spread a positive message so effectively. The only recent example coming to mind being the London riots clean up that was started on Twitter. The internet had defiantly ”woken up” to this video and if you thought it had hit its peak think again. At the time of writing this (11am) on the morning of the 8th of March the Kony 2012 video currently sits at 21,107,207 views on YouTube.
I genuinely believe that this single video is a lesson in what good can be achieved using the internet. The video itself strikes all right tones to get people talking about it. Its slightly rebel nature and calling together of community and countries seems to have frenzied vast support. It uses every angle possible to make people care about their cause. The use of the directors child, the harrowing imagery, the infographic nature of visualising the statistics, there is no doubt it is a very well thought out and put together video. We are yet to see how effective the campaign itself will be, but whatever the outcome the driving force behind it is undoubtedly the very visible power of social media.