It was hailed as the most viral media message of all time, but just a week or so after its release the "Kony 2012" video message has lost some of its initial luster.
This can be attributed to a number of things including questions about the finances of the group which backed the video, Invisible Children, and a very public breakdown by the film's creator, Jason Russell, who has since sought medical treatment for "dehydration" and "stress."
The fact that Kony 2012, a 30 minute long video message meant to increase awareness of serious problems in the Uganda region of the African continent, attracted more than 80 million views on YouTube in less than a week cannot be overlooked. As a rule, most viral videos are 2-3 minute long shorts meant to quickly convey a message or impression about a very specific, easy to understand point. Kony 2012 shattered that rule by demonstrating that if the message is correctly crafted you can capture the attention of viewers for as long as you need it.
Unfortunately, the Kony 2012 creators forgot a very important rule for social media marketing: Be prepared. Before you start seeking attention, welcoming people to hear your message, visit your web portal or your brick and mortar business, be certain you are ready for them. Invisible Children invited intense scrutiny, but they seem ill-prepared now to handle it. Questions are being asked about what they are doing, why and who is paying for it, and rather than having those answers ready, Invisible Children appears to be dodging when it can and ignoring when it can't.
In fact, it seems like the entire thing has been little more than a waste of time. This is evident in the fact that despite continued coverage views of the Kony 2012 video have nearly come to a standstill and criticism of Invisible Children is mounting.
This is not the way to handle any marketing campaign, much less one of the most successful social media marketing campaigns yet devised. Successful, yes, effective, well, maybe not.