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KONY 2012 took the social web by storm last week, as a 30-minute documentary seeking to arrest LRA leader Joseph Kony was viewed online nearly 100 million times. The Pew Internet and American Life Project investigated how KONY 2012 became the most viral video of all time. The key, Pew found, was 18 to 29-year-olds sharing links on Twitter and Facebook . While initially 77% of Twitter discussions were positive, the tone shifted as criticisms of the non-profit behind the film, Invisible Children, began to circulate. KONY 2012: Is the Viral Campaign a Scam? One of Pew's takeaways was the importance of social media for spreading news to young readers.
Even at SXSW in Austin, Texas, KONY 2012 is the topic of conversation. It was the elephant in the room during a panel on social documentary filmmaking and social media. Fortunately, the panelists addressed the elephant — more than once. KONY 2012 is the massively viral YouTube video, directed and narrated by director Jason Russell who founded Invisible Children, that shines the spotlight on Joseph Kony, a Ugandan warlord who has been abducting children and turning them into soldiers and sex slaves.
Getty Images, Reuters Actor Jason Biggs, left, and KONY 2012's Jason Russell. By Erin Carlson, The Hollywood Reporter KONY 2012 filmmaker Jason Russell's epic freak-out inspired Jason Biggs to reenact the meltdown for laughs -- but not everyone is finding Biggs' parody funny. According to TMZ, a spokesperson for Invisible Children -- the advocacy group behind Russell's mega-viral "Stop Kony" campaign -- responded with a jab at the actor's celebrity status: "Who's Jason Biggs?
The non-profit organization Invisible Children and its viral video Kony 2012 , which has become an international sensation in the past couple of weeks, is continuing to stir controversy. Not only have critics raised questions surrounding Invisible Children and its methodologies, but numerous reports are now verifying that local Ugandans too are in fact angry about the campaign. The non-profit African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) , which calls itself an organization to help rehabilitate victims of war, organized a public screening in the town of Lira in northern Uganda on Tuesday night. Northern Uganda was one of the regions worst affected by Joseph Kony's rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
A controversial app debuting Thursday, called Kick Kony’s Ass, allows you to “punch and generally beat down” a picture of the Ugandan warlord, “essentially giving him a taste of his own medicine.” Made by mobile safety app developer Iconosys, the app plays off of the attention currently on Uganda sparked by the “ Kony 2012 ” video on YouTube. Watched more than 137 million times, the most viral YouTube video of all time looks into the conditions in Uganda — focusing on one particular man, Joseph Kony, who has kidnapped children in the country, requiring them to become soldiers for the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). "This is a therapeutic way to allow you to get out your frustrations," Wayne Irving, CEO and Founder of Iconosys told Mashable . "I often go and hit the speed bag or the punching bag, and I feel a 100% better afterwards. This is a novel/virtual way to accomplish some of the same therapeutic practices to deal with this fracas."
The family of Jason Russell , the creator of the "Kony 2012" viral video and a co-founder of the advocacy group Invisible Children, said that " brief reactive psychosis " brought on his public meltdown on a San Diego street corner last week. "The preliminary diagnosis he received is called brief reactive psychosis, an acute state brought on by the extreme exhaustion, stress and dehydration," the statement reads . "Though new to us, the doctors say this is a common experience given the great mental, emotional and physical shock his body has gone through in these last two weeks." Danica Russell, the wife of 33-year-old Jason Russell, issued the statement -- posted to Invisible Children's blog on Tuesday morning -- on behalf of the family. It says that Russell will remain hospitalized "for a number of weeks" and that "the recovery process could take months before he is fully able to step back into his role with Invisible Children."
The social media buzz around the Kony 2012 campaign has subsided over the past week. For about a week or so, though it was inescapable. So just how big was it? For some perspective, I recently talked with Scot Chisolm, CEO of StayClassy , the online fundraising platform that works with Invisible Children on its campaigns. The platform launched in 2010 and Invisible Children, the organization that produced the Kony 2012 video , was among its first clients.