A 30-minute video advocacy campaign exposing Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony got viral last week on the web reaching 17 million views on Vimeo and about 80 million views on YouTube.
The Kony 2012 video, realised by Invisible Children, generated a huge debate, amongst others, about how to conduct an advocacy campaign, how to cover complex issues trying to reach a wide audience or how to report on Uganda problems.
From a journalistic point of view, what was most interesting is how the video went viral so quickly thanks to the role of social media and online sharing.
An article on Forbes illustrated the 12 lessons we can learn from the video about how powerful social media can be in aiming for social changes.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project published a survey about the role social media played amongst young people, ages 18-29, in sharing the video. It was based on telephone interviews conducted 9-11 March 2012, among a national sample of 814 adults 18 years of age or older living in the continental United States, the report says.
The survey shows that young adults were more likely than older adults to have heard a lot about the “Kony 2012”.
Unsurprisingly, the survey shows also that the Internet was more than three times more important as a news-learning platform for young adults than traditional media.
In addition to hearing a lot about the video, young adults were much more likely than older adults to have watched the video: 23% of adults ages 18-29 watched it, compared with 11% of those 30-49, 8% of those 50-64, and 13% of those 65 and older, the survey says.
The survey confirms that the strategy of the advocacy group in promoting and sharing the video on social media. According to the survey in fact, “Invisible Children noted that one of its goals in launching the video was to capture attention for it through campaigns in social media to encourage celebrity Twitter users to post about it. Those who did tweet included Oprah Winfrey, Ryan Seacrest, Justin Bieber, Alec Baldwin and Taylor Swift”.
Twitter in particular played an important role as the analysis found that there were nearly 5 million tweets about the video in the week after it was posted online on 5 March.
The survey also analysed the tone of the conversation about the video, highlighting that while it was almost supporting in the first days, it shifted a bit later on. “The first two days after the video was online, when attention on Twitter was relatively modest, 77% of the Twitter conversation was supportive compared with only 7% that was skeptical or negative. Since 7 March, when the response picked up dramatically, the percentage of tweets reflecting skepticism or criticism rose to 17%”, the report says.
Click here to read all the report.
Image source: Pew survey