WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The international push to find an African warlord is showing the power of social media. Within four days a half-hour film on a charity’s mission to raise awareness has generated 50 million viewers online, most of them young people.
“Kony 2012″ is a campaign video that has sparked a wildfire of conversation across the country and around the world.
So we hit the streets to find out who has viewed the viral documentary and who knows the name Joseph Kony. We began with the video’s targeted audience: students.
“It’s all over social networking sites and the Internet,” Joseph Latterner said. “I know there’s this viral campaign, 30-minute video that’s instructional on ways to get involved in the movement.”
Young people in the Cape Fear have even taken to Facebook with their support.
But what about those of older generations? Many of the folks we asked had no idea who Kony is.
“The reason I know about it is because my 12-year-old daughter is very very interested,” Rebecca Blake said.
So who is Kony, and what’s in the viral video? The 30-minute piece is a documentary detailing alleged crimes of Kony, the Lord’s Resistance Army leader in Uganda. Kony is accused of abducting children for decades, making the boys child soldiers and the girls sex slaves.
The video aims to put Kony’s name in every household’s conversation by making his name famous and asking for help from the famous and powerful.
UNCW Public and International Affairs Chair Earl Sheridan says efforts to stop Kony are nothing new.
“He’s been indicted by the International Court for crimes against humanity, and there have been efforts to bring him to justice, but they haven’t been successful,” Dr. Sheridan said.
Not everyone has fallen in love with the “Kony 2012″ campaign. Invisible Children, the group behind it, has been criticized for how much it spends on marketing instead of direct aid to Africa.