How Kony 2012 Was Able To Get 80 Million Views Within A Week

Posted Mar 10, 2012

There has been a video uploaded to YouTube called KONY 2012 and it was put together by a non-profit called Invisible Children. The video was seeking to bring attention to a fugitive leader named Joseph Kony. This video is now the fastest-growing viral video in web history because of celebrity advocates and young viewers.

The video was posted on Monday and had been viewed over 80 million times by Friday afternoon according to Visible Measures Corp. The video creators cannot full yexplain why the video took off so quickly. They promoted it in similar ways to their previous less popular productions.

Kony is a Ugandan-born leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes like murder, sexual slavery, and child abuse. To make the video appealing to young viewers, the filmmakers asked themselves: “How do we make this translate to a 14-year-old who just walked out of algebra class?” said Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

On Monday evening, Invisible Children had a premier for the film at the Los Angeles, California headquarters for the talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Kristen Bell and Jason Bateman served as hosts for the film.

“As soon as the CAA premiere was over, we knew something special happened, because the look in peoples’ eyes was like, ‘We have to do something,’ ” Mr. Keesey said.

Between Monday until Friday afternoon, “Kony” was mentioned over three million times according to social media analytics company PeopleBrowsr. Invisible Children now has over 380,000 Twitter followers and over 2.5 million Facebook fans. Keesey dismissed claims that the movement won’t go beyond retweeting and liking on Facebook. He said that the video’s serious subject matter sets it apart from other viral web videos like “cats flushing toilets.”

Government officials and activists in Uganda criticized the movie as outdated. Okot Patrick, a local official at Kony’s hometown of Gulu said that the rebellion was no longer an issue. He said that officials are now focusing on resettling over 2.5 million people displaced by the war. “People have more pressing problems such as poverty and diseases,” said Patrick.

Other charities that are focused on helping Africa have benefitted from this campaign. Africare has seen the number of donations spike by “several thousands of dollars” following the Kony 2012 video. “We’re all trying to reverse engineer this,” stated Africare director of communications Shomwa Shamapande.

One of my favorite lines from the movie is:
“In furtherance of the Congress’s stated policy, I have authorized a small number of U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield. Sincerely, Barack Obama”