This is a guest post by Mandy Miller. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyMayM.
Remember the “Live Under a Rock? Geico commercial? Well, in case you do live under a boulder, you may be wondering what this Kony business is about. Naturally, it stirs larger political and foreign relations and policy debates, but you have to give it to Invisible Children, it truly deserves the title of an “EPIC” social media campaign – at least for now. According to GigaOM’s estimates, the seemingly long (by YouTube standards) 30-minute video created by the group and shared widely on Facebook and Twitter was viewed 80 million times in just five days. In case you haven’t seen the video, give it a ‘quick’ view here.
I’ve worked and lived with many friends that have visited and worked specifically within Uganda as well as many other foreign counties within Africa and abroad. The tale and truth here is that these types of atrocities are nothing new. While generic in ‘corporate speak,’ I’ve seen many a social media case that attempts to ‘drive awareness’ to bring attention to them and, of course, bring a call to action. Never have I seen such a viral reception of a campaign of this nature.
The interesting thing about watching the Kony campaign is that it’s REALLY working. I’m not naming any names, but via my social media networks, I’ve been witnessing individuals who have previously voiced no concern or action in foreign policies, affairs, events, etc. now pushing on this content – pushing it hard, at that. The individual that spearheaded this effort, Jason Russell, produced an amazing video. In broadcasting, capturing human interest can be very difficult. Have you ever noticed how long a network news segment is? The average segment is a single minute – some are longer at two minutes. Now, think of the amount of information that goes into that. It takes talent to pull together a video that not only looks good, but ‘touches’ the viewer. I believe Russell has done just that.
While it’s too tough to tell where this campaign will go and how its success will be measured, an interesting point to think about is how this kind of multimedia will begin shifting how we market brands and interact with end-users and the general population. While it’s nothing new, even to people under rocks, the future of media is constantly evolving. With The New York Times recently putting the philanthropy beat on the chopping block, marketing communications professionals, and, more specifically, non-profits, have to be thinking of new and creative ways to cultivate conversation. My guess is that we are going to begin integrating multimedia and social media much more. You can see this in practice with the recent rise in infographics – packing a lot of useful nuggets into an atheistically pleasing package.
What other ways have you seen or think you will see media shift more towards integrating multimedia and social media?