If people are unaware of a problem, how can they help solve it? Social media can certainly assist.
Invisible Children, a nonprofit organization that uses film, creativity, and social action to restore peace in Central Africa, recently leveraged social media to create a successful new movement called Kony 2012.
While a lot of video content on the Internet goes viral starring cute kittens or flash mobs, Invisible Children made a 30 minute film exposing a corrupt warlord from Uganda named Joseph Kony that has received over 55 million views on YouTube alone in just a few days.
Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a group known for its brutality and cruelty. The LRA terrorized Uganda for years and abducted children to create an army of children soldiers. While the LRA is no longer active in Uganda, its violence continues to spread. The purpose of the video made by Invisible Children is to bring this war criminal to justice, and in order to do so, they needed people to know who Kony is.
Pulling at the heartstrings of people worldwide, the video’s primary purpose is clear: to create awareness. With enough awareness, people begin to care, to donate, and change ensues. The video encouraged the audience to be active and get involved by making Kony famous.
Taking their social media strategy even further, the Invisible Children website has a set-up where people can see what to tweet and who to tweet to. The organization clearly identified 20 influential celebrities and 20 different policy makers that users should tweet in order to increase exposure–it worked. The participating “Culturemakers” include the likes of Oprah, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Lady Gaga, Ryan Seacrest, Rihanna, and more. The “Policymakers” that participated include former President George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and the presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The hashtag #StopKony ended up trending worldwide.
The entire awareness campaign can be considered a success. The site crashed and awareness paraphernalia including posters for the campaign are back ordered.
Of course, although the cause is noble, some argue the organization is sketchy. Critics have attempted to highlight Invisible Children’s financial records, showcasing that the organizations delegation of donations isn’t the best. Others point out Kony has been out of commission since 2006 and efforts for change should focus elsewhere.
Despite the criticism, if you consider the entire purpose of the campaign was to create awareness, critics alike are just as responsible for spreading the word and making this social media strategy stellar. And yes, knowledge may be power, but it’s quite clear that social media has power too.
About the author
Taylor is steered by the power of the pen. Having come from the prestigious creative track for copywriting at Brigham Young University, she understands the necessity for strategy, style and purpose. After graduation and taking a bite of the Big Apple while interning at Young & Rubicam, Taylor returned to Utah to craft and manage copy for us at PRMarketing.com. Aside from her wizardry with words, Taylor has a flare for fashion, and as a Floridian, is a sucker for the sun.