SAN DIEGO – April 5, 2012 – With no fanfare, “KONY 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous” was posted to YouTube on Wednesday, April 4 by the San Diego-based nonprofit organization Invisible Children. The much-anticipated follow-up was delayed two days from its originally announced posting date. Invisible Children said the video needed unanticipated additional editing time.
Within the first few hours, the video had been viewed 100,000 times. During the day Thursday, views climbed to over 306,000 and counting. As of Friday at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, views were well over 850,000.
By any other measure, this would be impressive. It is impossible to say yet whether it will match the record-breaking results of the original KONY 2012 video, viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube alone in the past month since it debuted. It is impossible to say how many more times it has been viewed via other sites or shared.
Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey narrates the 20 minutes follow-up video. Keesey explains what led him to join the effort in support of charity co-founder Jason Russell’s original vision for the organization. He updates activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army in the month since the original video aired, gives over much of the video’s time to voices from the affected areas in Africa reacting to the original project; and presents a call to action for a worldwide rally on Friday, April 20.
Given Russell’s well-publicized public breakdown and hospitalization in San Diego a few weeks after the original KONY 2012 film exploded on the scene, it was a smart move to put Keesey in front of this follow-up effort and keep Russell out of sight.
Joseph Kony, accused of terrorizing northern Uganda for two decades, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. He is accused of abducting children to use as fighters and sex slaves.
Kony and the rebel group were ejected from northern Uganda in 2005. Kony and few hundred followers are believed to roam the remote jungle straddling the borders of the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Sudan.
The new video explains more about what Kony’s forces are doing in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, which was barely discussed in the first project. There is new footage of Kony and his followers torching villages and training in the jungle.
Social media is once again at the center of this story as Invisible Children uses this second film in large part to respond to the criticism about turning an extremely complex issue into a simplistic tale of good and evil that does not depict today’s reality in Uganda and the surrounding region.
“One month later, we are releasing this film to explain the creation of the campaign, the progress that’s already been made, and what we can all do now to support the ongoing efforts to stop the violence of the LRA,” says narrator Keesey.
In response to comments that the original video was nothing more than an example of “slacktivism,” KONY 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous provides viewers more specific ways to take action, including contacting elected officials and other policymakers with a request to increase funding to help end the conflict in central Africa; urging the capture of Joseph Kony himself; and taking part in local activism. The video is heavy on beach cleanups and trash pickups as examples.
The video announces a worldwide day of activism, “Cover the Night” on Friday, April 20. The final few minutes of the video ask individuals to gather their friends, perform three hours of local community service, and participate in guerilla-style visibility projects by creating visual displays in the community. Examples shown in the video include hanging banners from buildings, stenciling the KONY 2012 logo on streets, and painting murals on walls.
There is also a disclaimer that no one should break the law while doing so. It drives the viewer to a website to register.
There is no possible way Invisible Children could have predicted the strength of the reaction to its first Kony 2012 video, and no possible way the group could have been prepared for the onslaught of attention it received.
Will using another video to respond to the criticism of the original video soothe Invisible Children’s critics and set the group on the path it likely had intended in the first place? Will the video’s viewers choose to take part in “Cover The Night” on April 20, or will it produce an under whelming response and renew accusations of all talk, no action slacktivism by its intended audience of 20 and 30-somethings?
Dialing down expectations to the local level, something with an achievable visual result is a smart move by Invisible Children. Visuals are clearly its strength. Narrator Ben Keesey closes the video with the words, “Wherever your story leads you, go there. We can all do our part, where we are with what we have. We are a new generation of justice, made for such a time as this. Because our liberty is bound together, across the world and across the street.”
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group
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