‘Kony’ Video Prompts 100 Million Views and Some Criticism

If you don’t know about the “Kony 2012” video, you’re close to being in the minority. Todd Wasserman of Mashable reported today that the film about the atrocities committed by Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony has garnered more than 100 million views in six days, outpacing the video of Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, which hit 70 million views in six days, among other popular videos.

The viral explosion of "Kony 2012" has not only generated a record number of views, but plenty of discussion about the timing and effectiveness of such a video, and even questions about the integrity of the fundraising effort by Invisible Children, the group behind the video.

While many people give the film an "A" for exposing Kony’s brutal reign, critics say the timing couldn’t be worse—that the fallout from the video will hinder efforts already under way to bring Kony to justice. Others have questioned just how much action this video will prompt. Is this just a clickable moment or will the people who watch the video actually give money or volunteer for the cause to unseat Kony?

Not only did "Kony 2012" put Kony under a microscope, it also put Invisible Children under one as well. Criticism of its business model prompted the group to make an eight-minute video in response, while thanking those who lent their support. In answer to criticism about its finances, CEO Ben Keesey insisted that the group is being "fully transparent, from top to bottom."

So while most organizations would love to have a video as viral as "Kony 2012," the lesson here is not only to be prepared for positive outcomes, but for any negativity that might follow.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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