Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kony and Social Media

Our chapter on mass media explains how technological change is transforming the news business.  The change is most pronounced among younger people, as the Pew Research Center reports:
The 30-minute video released last week by the San Diego-based group Invisible Children calling for action against Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony provided striking evidence that young adults and their elders at times have different news agendas and learn about news in different ways. Those ages 18-29 were much more likely than older adults to have heard a lot about the “Kony 2012” video and to have learned about it through social media than traditional news sources. Indeed, a special analysis of posts in Twitter showed that it was by far the top story on the platform.
Moreover, younger adults were also more than twice as likely as older adults to have watched the video itself on YouTube or Vimeo. As of March 13, the video had been viewed more than 76 million times on YouTube and 16 million times on Vimeo, making it one of the most viewed videos of all time on those sites.
Special polling and social media content analysis by the Pew Research Center tracks how the “Kony 2012” video and information about it reached so many Americans in a relatively short period of time, and the critical role social media played, especially for adults under age 30.
There is a downside.  Just as the Kony video spread rapidly, so did unhappy news about its maker.  MSNBC reports:
The maker of an Internet film gone viral that calls for the arrest of Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony has been hospitalized in California following an "unfortunate incident" that his group and family said on Friday stemmed from the emotional toll of recent weeks.
Jason Russell, director of the 30-minute "Kony 2012" video and co-founder of the group Invisible Children, was hospitalized on Thursday for "exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition," Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey said in a statement.
"The past two weeks have taken a severe emotional toll on all of us, Jason especially, and that toll manifested itself in an unfortunate incident yesterday," Keesey said, without providing further details.