All around the internet, people are trying to figure out how Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video/campaign went viral so quickly – especially since they had so much working against it:

  • The video was 30 minutes long – short videos go viral, not long ones
  • Invisible Children spends 30% of their money on videos and awareness pieces and not on direct services
  • The problem in Africa is too complex to be narrowed down to one person or one conflict or one resolution
  • Kony isn’t even IN Uganda any longer

How did this happen?  How on earth did this video blow up SO quickly.

Here’s the secret: people care.  People get presented with images that pull at their heart strings and they care.  People see children getting maimed and mutilated and they care.  People see an opportunity to be a small voice contributing to something good and they care.

Of course I know that there’s no solution presented in this video.  It’s OK that there isn’t – it’s not about a solution at this point.  It’s a rallying cry.  It’s a call to creativity, to dedicating oneself to something worthwhile.  It’s about harnessing a small portion of the cognitive surplus of kids and adults and to make the statement that, given the opportunity, we would stand between Kony and the next child the LRA attempts to abduct or kill.

When you’re willing to shield kids from this kind of treatment – if you’re ready to die for what’s right – you’re certainly willing to send an email to a congress person, or send money to an agency that’s on the ground in troubled parts of the world.

Do I care that 30% of Invisible Children’s funding was used to make an awareness video?  Yes, I care so much that I wish I could have bank-rolled the entire cost.  73 million people (and counting) are now more aware of atrocities that have gone unpunished.  That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment.  EVERYONE on the internet – from bloggers to the New York Times – are talking about it.  Even the smart people who want to prove their smarts by calling every nuance of technique and strategy into question – they’re contributing to the awareness too.

While watching a panel discuss this very issue, one person said, “No matter what you think about the whole campaign, these are well-intentioned people trying to make a difference in the world.”  This video is not about starting a war.  This video is about rallying people to a cause – inspiring people to care…. about SOMETHING. It’s about taking 30 minutes away from the video games or the television and using that wasted time for something collaborative, creative,and consequential.

Congrats to Invisible Children for standing up for what they said they were going to do, for putting creative content in the world that isn’t about entertainment or ego.

Kony 2012.