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What can we learn about social media and society in general from the hype generated by Kony 2012?

Although I have known about Invisible Children for quite some time, I was surprised to see the sudden boom in attention pointed towards the group due to Kony 2012. I want to explore - what causes a social media boom like this? What is it about the movement that makes people react so emotionally (in both positive and negative ways)? How can we use this time of energy in constructive ways in the future?

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    Mar 13 2012: for me, the main question is whether it was a lucky shot or an engineered success. and i don't mean the intent. the intent is of course engineered success. but it was truly a reproducible result of masterful engineering, or it was just random.

    we all know how much role luck plays. youtube puppy videos range from hundreds to hundreds of millions of views, despite the apparent lack of any meaningful difference.

    but if someone can reliably design a successful viral internet campaign of this magnitude, it is something we need to be aware of. mostly in order to avoid it.
    • Mar 13 2012: I totally agree that popularity on the internet is assigned rather randomly. I agree with your concerns regarding these viral internet campaigns, but I still can't help but feel that if only we could understand the culture of the online community and what characteristics make certain media more likely to catch attention it could be used in a more constructive way to bring needed awareness. I feel that right now the internet is used for shallow purposes and full depth of what is possible has not yet been documented.
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    Mar 12 2012: I believe its very technical in the way of playing with the audience's emotions, which, good film makers are masters of.
    For instance, the whole character "Jacob" that they introduce is a very likeable victim who is shown to be very sensitive, conveys emotions and is able to speak English. Jacob gives the viewers a much more personal figure to relate to. Combined with shocking imagery of the brutally maimed victims, it gives the video somewhat of an "edge" I guess...

    I think people really have to take the important lesson here, it's not about Kony, he's long been a fugitive on the run for some time, but about the effectiveness of media to make people aware of issues that are happening globally. There is no reason now that there is Internet, we shouldn't be aware of global issues.
    • Mar 20 2012: Yeah i don't deny the movie was excellent. But I'm pretty sure that on Youtube there are a lotta moving videos maybe not as moving as Kony 2012, but still. I think for example about the "Love Language" made by the jubilee project. That video is moving, but it never reached 2 million views. Plus the same Kony 2012 video was uploaded on Vimeo and didn't spread as widely as on Youtube (right now the vid has only 17.4 million views).

      I think the question that should be raised is how can we have a video seen by over 50 million people in 4 days? How can a topic be spread world wide with as much effectiveness than the Stop Kony Show? There are over 850 millons people on Facebook & over 225 millons people on Twitter. How can one convey something that would reach all of the Web 2.0 network, like the Invisible Children did
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    Mar 21 2012: There was a TED clip about it and it was 3 things (I've also heard of it in a lecture in my Computers in Society course) it was about the Experience of it all and the actual content, and Trend setters influence, the TED clip (I believe it was a YouTube trend manager or something of the sort) mentions the uncertainty variable as well. Think of it though, as a triangle, either pointy end up or down. Either the trend setters play a big role in promoting the video to go viral, or the experience of it all is so enticing that it will catch on fire.
    I'm not so sure if it's just about making videos that will be watched by the most people. I think it should be directed at certain audiences. It's like making a good game; if it's a really good game, chances are, it's not a kids game. So I think demographics is important in that sense, but I'm just rambling lol
  • Mar 13 2012: I wonder if general awareness of the world and important issues has increased due to the internet. For example, has the amount of money given to charity and volunteer work increased proportionally with increase in information access? I suspect that probably not. So what makes people want to get in on the action in this issue? Is it something very quick and easy that makes people think that are making a difference where they actually are not?

    How can we excite people to the point that they want to make a persistant contribution to good causes? Does it take a well-made emotional movie everyday?
    • Mar 20 2012: You would be wrong if you suspected that ggeneral awareness has not increased. One may think people do not invest a lot in the world issues. but trust me, if you tell to 1000 people they can help in the fight against cancer by donating 1 dollar maybe, only one person will give a dollar. But If you tell 10 000, then you'll have at least 10 people who will donate something. some may give even more than 1 dollar. Some may even invest themselves in the fight.

      As for how we can excite people to invest themselves in good causes, there is no answer to that (in my opinion). Most people would gladly give some money to causes, but they wouldn't do anything else. They have a life, yo! they have their own problems. All what you can do is to inform a lot of people so that you can have a few who would join the cause!