#Kony2012 and “Cover the Night” Global Campaign Fall Flat in the End

Remember #Kony2012? It was only last month, just about 7 weeks ago, that most viral video in the history of the Internet had the online world talking and buzzing.

The goal of the campaign was to establish a Cover the Night global event for April 20. April 20 is now upon us, and right now, the campaign has fallen flat. For example, Invisible Children's Call to Action has gotten only 20,000 views (when compared to the 100+ million views the first video received).

This report out of Australia said that only 25 people showed up at Martin Place in Sydney, even though 18,700 people had said on Facebook that they would attend the event.

On Twitter, the #Kony2012 search for tonight is no way as active as to when the initial video came out. You see more of these tweets than the hundreds and thousands of tweets Invisible Children was promising:

One interesting development was this report by Al Jazeera English, where Uganda bloggers are trying to offer a more local and authentic perspective to the issues in Central Africa:

And that is the problem with the campaign. It was never really authentic, and felt more mass-produced than real. Invisible Children DID get people to REACT, but they failed in getting them to ACT. Sure there will be local pockets, but the whole GLOBAL PUSH turned out to be a dud. Maybe the next time, IC would have benefited from releasing the video closer to the Cover the Night date? They also failed by swinging for the fences and creating huge expectations that no one would have fulfilled.

A Guardian piece is highly critical of the campaign, and reports the following:

"This Invisible Children campaign hurts. It's offensive," says Victor Ochen, founder and director of the African Youth Initiative Network (Ayinet) that works to rehabilitate victims of violence perpetrated by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). "The people who have suffered at the hands of Kony don't want to promote him or make him famous. They want to rebuild their lives."

As supporters of Invisible Children's campaign prepared for the its Cover the Night stunt on Friday night – putting up wanted posters in cities across the US and elsewhere – the organisation faced more criticism from LRA victims in northern Uganda for oversimplifying the complex history of conflict in the region, for failing to clearly state that the LRA are no longer a threat there and for advocating a military solution to the problem.

"We get the feeling that Invisible Children care more about their videos than about victims," said Ochen, who was born and raised in Lira District, an area severely affected by the conflict. "Part of that comes from their choice of date for this event. Why 20 April? Don't they know or care that this is the anniversary of one of the worst LRA massacres, when over 300 people were killed at Atiak in 2005?

The campaign also suffered from a key lesson in social media activism and virality: 7 weeks is an eternity when it comes to Internet time. TIME offers a good perspective, too. By the time Cover the Night arrived, most of the Internet was worried about Tupac holograms.

The Daily Show Weighs in on #Kony2012

You knew it would happen.

Last night on The Daily Show. My Little Kony.

And Al Madrigal weighs in too as well as the very funny Jessica Williams.


When the Internet Raises Social Awareness: The World Responds to #Kony2012 and #StopKony

For all the Friday videos, 'Sh*t" memes, and images of dads shooting their laptops, once in a while good happens on the Internet and injustices become part of the global consciousness.

That is the case of #Kony2012 and #StopKony.


The campaign launched on March 5 and it has gone completely viral on the Internet. And that is a good thing. For more, here is the official page: Kony 2012. As for the story behind the story, this post from the UK says it best:

The non-profit company, Invisible Children, Inc. released a video on March 5th, 2012 to start their "Cover the Night" campaign. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and support for the arrest of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in central Africa.

The "Cover the Night" campaign involves people either buying or printing off posters and covering the area they live in with them during the night on April 20th, 2012.

Invisible Children, Inc. hope that the volume of people getting involved in this will stop the US government from pulling out US forces which were deployed to Uganda on October 20th, 2011.

The organisers underestimated the support, their goal for the video was 500,000 shares and they have already received 1.5 million views on vimeo version alone, and is now rising at an exponential rate.

UDPATE: The whole campaign has cuased a buzzstorm of questions. Here are some facts about them.