By Gina Cetrone
I remember the night that it became viral. One minute there were 114,000 views, the next morning I wake up to find that this video had over 7 million hits, and now as I’m writing this, there are over 60 million. I think we’ve all seen it by now – the legendary Youtube video taking the world by storm through Facebook statuses and trending topics on Twitter. Undoubtedly, Joseph Kony is becoming the most famous man in the world with astonishing rapidity. In a nutshell, the Invisible Children movement is a California-based company that “uses film, creativity, and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore LRA-affected communities in Central Africa to peace and prosperity” (invisiblechildren.com).
When asked on The Today Show why he thinks this video became viral, the director of the short film, Jason Russell, responded, “I think it’s because it’s a human story. We’re all human beings, and for some reason we forgot about our humanity” (today.mcnbc.msn.com).
Jason Russell was on to something. According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2009 we spent $1,061 billion just here in the United States alone. (That’s a crazy insane amount of money. Bill Gates’ annual salary is about $4 billion!) In an attempt to conserve some of that energy and money being spent, a 2006 campaign was created by a Leo Burnett team in Sydney, Australia, called “Earth Hour” for World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Initially, only Australia participated in the event in which lights were shut off for an hour in order to conserve energy.
Since then, over 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour. This year, however, there is a new approach taken by the name of “Dare the world. Save the planet.” In addition to urging people to turn off their lights for an hour at 8:30 pm local time, on March 31, 2012 the campaign challenges people to dare anyone (your Facebook friends, co-workers, celebrity crushes) to accept the challenge and help protect the Earth or accept the challenge of someone else. Celebrities and regular folk alike are reaching out by creating their very own Earth Hour challenges on Youtube by promising to do something crazy in exchange for participation in some kind of earth-saving act. For example, one woman vowed to get in the water with a great white shark in exchange for 10,000 people to give up plastic bags and straws for 2012. People can digitally accept these challenges via Youtube as means of counting participation. Visit http://www.youtube.com/earthhour (click to see more examples or even participate!)
The Kony campaign as well as the “Dare the world. Save the planet” campaign definitely have a huge impact on how we view the world, and how we as people have a hand in saving our own humankind. This interactive media has a heavy hand in the way we act, and more importantly in how we live. Innovative campaigns such as these have such a powerful hold on us, and it can truly impact our future generations to come. As it says within the first two seconds of the Kony video, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea”.