Now I live among the dead
Fighting voices in my head
Hoping someone hears me crying in the night
And carries me away
– Counting Crows, “Set me Free”
An Internet campaign seeking to make fugitive rebel leader Joseph Kony famous, has worked.
The online video about the Lord’s Resistance Army leader — who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, sexual slavery and abusing children — now ranks as the fastest-growing viral campaign in history, according to online measurement firm Visible Measures Corp. The clip sought to make Mr. Kony famous in order to spur his eventual capture.
Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc And … get some Kleenex.
Posted to YouTube on Monday by the non-profit group Invisible Children Inc., the 30-minute video about Lord’s Resistance Army leader Mr. Kony, captured more than 70 million views by Friday morning, with more than 200 clips associated with it and more than 500,000 comments, according to Visible Measures.
That’s more than three times the 20 million views it had garnered on Thursday morning.
The growth of the “Kony 2012” video outpaces other popular viral campaigns to date. For comparison, the video of Susan Boyle singing “I Dreamed a Dream” for the show “Britain’s Got Talent” ranks among the most-watched viral campaign of all time, with 480 million views. It took that video six days to reach 70 million views, compared to the Kony video’s five, according to Visible Measures.
Another popular series of online videos featuring The Old Spice Guy, captured 35 million views in the first week but didn’t reach 70 million views until five months after it launched, Visible Measures says.
The “Kony 2012” video has ignited chatter on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, fueled in part by a campaign from Invisible Children that encouraged people to ask for support from so-called “culture makers,” including Oprah, Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Bill Gates, and “policy makers,” including Former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
The Invisible Children website allows visitors to send them messages via Twitter. Several celebrities responded.
The video first took off among a younger audience, with early data showing that the average age of views is 24 years old, Visible Measure says.
“The video and the visibility from celebrities gave it the push it needed to catch fire. It’s front and center for millions of people now and they’re going to continue to actively support it.,” says Matt Fiorentino, chief marketing officer at Visible Measures.
By Thursday, the campaign attracted broad attention — as well as criticism about the group behind the campaign, its motives and whether it can bring about change — well beyond social media. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney congratulated the makers of the Kony 2012 video on Thursday afternoon. On Friday morning, the founder of Invisible Children appeared on the Today Show. This social media thing works!