If you tuned into television or the internet at all last week, it would have been hard to miss the buzz about the newly-released Kony 2012 video, published by a non-profit group called Invisible Children. This 29-minute documentary is meant to educate, inspire and call people to action on the horrific activities happening right now in Uganda lead by Joseph Kony. It was published on March 5, 2012 on YouTube and not even 6 days later, the video has had 73,748,057 views.
Invisible Children understands one of the fundamental elements of calling people to action is education and are using social media and great content to accomplish this. As mentioned in the video, how are people able to support an issue they don’t even know exists? With that point, they want to make Joseph Kony as famous as a celebrity with the end-goal of his capture and it seems to be working: 73 million video views in mere days and that number is rapidly growing. Invisible Children is calling for people to sign their petition of support, share their message across every social media channel, and make it so every citizen of the world knows Joseph Kony’s name and the crimes he has committed. And they are using inbound marketing strategy to catapult the campaign.
“The people of the world now see each other and can protect each other. It’s turning the system upside down and it’s changing everything."
On their KONY 2012 website, Invisible Children zeroed in on 12 political leaders and 20 cultural influencers, including Mark Zuckerburg, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Bono, Oprah and Bill Gates. Visitors have the ability to send messages to these 32 people directly on the website, calling for these celebrities to use their power of influence (when they speak, the world listens) and the politicians to take action (when they agree, change happens) to use their position to do something about this issue.
Along with attempting to reach key celebrities for support, Invisible Children offers a whole arsenal of items to arm the average person. They have an Action Kit download with all the materials needed to create your own personal campaign. They have a petition to sign and an email list to join. They have apparel and accessories available for purchase. They have signs to hang and material to read. They have information to share in hopes of millions of tweets, posts and blogs to spread their message. They have great content in an emotional video that has gone wildly viral.
They are also going offline with their integrated campaign and taking their message to the streets. Invisible Children is going to the next level on April 20, 2012, a day they have deemed “cover the night” and are calling for every city in America to plaster their towns with posters upon posters in support of the Kony 2012 campaign, a bold visual statement they are hoping people cannot ignore.
“We have reached a crucial time in history…the technology that has brought our planet together has allowed us to respond to the problems of our friends.”
These Kony crimes have been occurring in Uganda for more than two decades and regardless of your political views, whether you support the doings of Invisible Children or think it's a scam, even whether you are blue or red or even color blind, it is hard to overlook the enormous power and responsibility social media has given to people. Invisible Children has created a grassroot environment where you can't help but feel like you are making a difference, where sharing, tweeting and posting their documentary can inspire change, where the voices and demands of the average American can be heard; an unprecedented feat that is 20 years in the making.
Kony 2012 may be one of the ultimate social media campaigns launched for social action purposes and any inbound marker (or any person) can see the beauty in its execution and preliminary results. Social media and technology are changing the world as we know it and there is no going back.