“Kony 2012” Campaign Sweeps Provo/Orem, BYU

[Update: Invisible Children will be visiting BYU and screening their new viral documentary “Kony 2012” on March 15, 2012. Ugandan war-victim Nimaro Grace will be speaking as well. Location: 151 Tanner Building. Time: 7:30 PM, March 15, 2012. Facebook event.]

The humanitarian group Invisible Children posted their film “Kony 2012” on YouTube on March 5, 2012. Immediately the half-hour film, which is the flagship of Invisible Children’s new marketing campaign, went viral across social networking sites. Midday yesterday (March 6), the video had around 175,000 views on YouTube. Today (March 7), the video has netted almost 10,000,000 views. The purpose of the film is to bring national awareness to Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony and the atrocities that he and his group (the “Lord’s Resistance Army,” or LRA) has committed over the past two-and-a-half decades in central Africa.

Many Provo/Orem residents and BYU students readily got on board with the campaign. In lieu with the film’s goal, a Provo/Orem Facebook event was created for April 20 when those attending will “cover the night” with posters and images featuring the “Kony 2012” slogan and Joseph Kony’s image. The creators of the Facebook event, who are Provo and Orem residents, carefully note that while they are participating in Invisible Children’s campaign to raise awareness, they do not endorse people donating to the humanitarian group after several reports surfaced today and yesterday that questioned Invisible Children’s financial transparency. “There is some debate as to where money goes when donated to non-profits. This is something that should be considered whenever supporting any organization,” they write.

At the time I posted this article, the Provo/Orem Facebook event had 522 attending and 7,000 more invited, but the number was continuing to tick up. Those who are in the BYU, UVU, Provo, or Orem networks on Facebook are already being flooded with propaganda for the campaign as Facebook users continue to share Invisible Children’s YouTube film and post “Kony 2012” images and logos.

While today the campaign’s momentum seems to be continuing its crescendo, it seems incredibly unlikely that it will retain this amount of interest over the next month and a half leading up to its national April 20 event.