It's hard to know just how to feel about the KONY 2012 social media campaign being waged by Invisible Children. The campaign broke less than a week ago, but the furor, both positive and negative, has been immense.
As an example of what social media can do, the campaign is a stunner. Allyson Kapin of Frogloop pointed out the classic story construction of the video. Mashable declared that the goal of the campaign, which is to make KONY famous (or infamous), has been achieved and that is the measure of success. And there's no doubt that the strategies of putting famous people with large followings on the spot and providing easy-to-take action have worked.
On the other hand, there are many questions about whether this is the equivalent of a flash mob, whether the video is really truthful, and if Invisible Children has been transparent enough. The video also may be guilty of the Whites in Shining Armor syndrome, not to mention the question of where the money goes.
Invisible Children is incredibly media savvy. When criticism of the campaign arose, the organization handled its crisis management as sleekly as it did the social media campaign itself. Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey has made numerous appearances on news outlets and now has released a video that addresses some of the transparency concerns.
One thing is certain -- KONY 2012 will serve as a case study in social media for a while. It hits on so many issues, from how the West views social issues in developing countries, to organizational transparency, to the power and danger of the imagery now so available through social media.
What was your first reaction to KONY 2012? Has it changed as the campaign took off and critics emerged? Let us know in the comments.