Is it really even plausible that lightning would strike twice and a sequel to the world’s most successful viral video in history could duplicate the hype and buzz of its predecesor? Probably not, but Invisible Children is still going to sail their kite into the storm anyways to see if they can harness that social media electricity one more time.
Even people living under rocks last month heard about ‘Kony 2012,’ the insanely viral video created by Invisible Children that fixed a spotlight onto the Ugandan rebel warlord, Joseph Kony, who has been wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2005 for his shockingly brutal history of human rights abuse. The combined views of the 30-minute documentary on Vimeo and YouTube crashed through the 100 million views milestone in a matter of weeks. The negative side of the video’s rabid success, though, was that it lugged behind it a very large magnifying glass that produced an intense level of scrutiny over Invisible Children’s credibility. Much was criticized about Kony 2012: accusations of financial opportunism by Invisible Children, that Kony was already dead, Ugandans themselves disapproved of the filim, whether an online humanitarian campaign is lazy activism; and, uh, then there was the very unfortunate and very public psychological breakdown of Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell.
This second installment, which was released today, is said to address the criticism lobbed at the first Kony video, involving more ground-level interaction with actual people living in African countries affected by Kony’s murderous campaign.
There’s no denying that ‘Kony 2012’ was a wild success on multiple fronts but the internet is a different landscape post-‘Kony 2012.’ Several of the factors that made the first video such a magnificent triumph of viral marketing will not be available to the second installment. Plus, there’s the problem of the internet having a goldfish’s memory when it comes to relevance and focus. But, for better or worse, Invisible Children is marching onward with the sequel.
Check out ‘Kony 2012: Beyond Famous’ below and tell us what you think about it in the comments section. Better than the first? Criticisms addressed sufficiently? Too little, too late? So over it?