#StopKony2012 = storytelling on steroids?
Invisible Children’s new viral video captures the intensity and urgency of “an idea whose time is now.” The goal? Stopping Uganda’s rebel leader Joseph Kony by making him famous.
“Kony 2012” seeks to “raise support for [Kony’s] arrest and set a precedent for international justice.” It sets forth to accomplish this through a powerful sequence of layered storytelling that calls the viewer to participate in an international “army for peace.”
The viral video — with millions of YouTube views in just 2 days — slices and dices conventional wisdom about online video for social change. It’s 30 minutes long, for one thing! The high-quality cinematography and gripping plot, however, combine forcefully with the “promise” at the start, which carries us willingly along to the end: that the narrator will tell us how to right an incredible wrong.
By deftly carrying viewers back and forth between “what is” and “what could be,” the video successfully sells viewers (at least those coming from a Caucasian, male, Western perspective) on the creators’ idea. “Kony 2012” manages to convince potentially apathetic viewers that they are capable of changing something that seemed nearly impossible to affect a mere thirty minutes prior: the ongoing kidnapping and exploitation of children in Uganda.
Storytelling at its most potent.
For their part, celebrities are beginning to take note — and tweet their fans. A quick search for #StopKony2010 is dizzying, as people are tweeting the video multiple times a second. Proving its efficacy, the video has already spawned several sarcastic memes and extended critiques, including an important question about promoting US military intervention to stop Kony.
What do you think of Kony 2012?