The Anatomy of a Viral Video
The most remarkable thing happened this week. Within four days a San Diego-based charity’s half-hour film about a Ugandan warlord accused of kidnapping up to 30,000 children in the past 26 years – turning girls into sex slaves and boys into child soldiers – has been watched 70 million times, mostly by teenagers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc
While you read this, ask yourself why this issue has so taken hold among young people, your students. If this story is so important to them, should it be a local story?
What do you make of the notion that readers and viewers only care about local, not international stories?
On “CBS This Morning” Friday, Jedidiah Jenkins, the director of ideology for Invisible Children, defended the group’s expenditures – both in Africa and through its advocacy. He also discounted the comment of one Ugandan journalist who characterized the viral video as a passing fad for Americans whose attention will be on something else next week.
The viral manhunt is the work of a non-profit organization called Invisible Children. The YouTube video went viral like wildfire. It is said to be the fasted growing viral video in history.
70-million viewers in three days. Some call this “slacktivism” which allows people to retweet or viral something without really doing anything to help.
The story ignited using key firestarters:
To get the campaign off the ground quickly, the group had users send messages to 20 “culturemakers” and 12 “policymakers” with influential Twitter accounts urging them to support the effort. The list included names such as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former President George W. Bush, as well as celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Mark Zuckerberg and Lady Gaga.
The message that users could send to those people included a hashtag, #Kony2012, that gave the Twitter community something to galvanize around. It read: “Help us end #LRA violence. Visit kony2012.com to find out why and how. @rickwarren Join us for #KONY2012”
As you might expect, there is significant blowback to this effort.
Some say it is a simplistic response, some say it is solely aimed at getting the U.S. military involved in Ugandan affairs. Some attack IC for spending it’s donation income badly. Some say the charity is supporting forces that are nearly as bad themselves as Kony.
Here is a Tumbler with all of that and more. http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/