DOI: 10.5176/2301-3729_JMComm12.33

Authors: Louise Elali, Danielle Keiser


Abstract: Launched on March 2012, “Kony 2012” is a 30-
minute documentary created by Invisible Children, a nonprofit
organization which aims to put an end to the Lord’s Resistance
Army (LRA), lead by a man called Joseph Kony, whose actions
include abductions and abuse of children. The movie aspires to
bring awareness to the LRA and make Kony as famous as Hitler
or Bin Laden. With over 100 million views in six days, “Kony
2012” has become the most viral Internet video in history so far.
This study aims to understand the “Kony phenomenon” through
the audience perspective, using reception studies as a platform to
understand how global viewers from different world regions
reacted to the video. In order to accomplish this goal, in a metalike
fashion, the study opted to analyze YouTube response videos.
We find that, in spite of the emotional nature of the film,
spectators’ responses varied, and a large part of reactions did not
buy completely into the video’s message. Overall, although many
agreed that it was an important cause, common criticisms
included misleading/missing information, questioning of
producers intentions, and simplification of the overall issue and
the solution.
Keywords: kony 2012; documentary; emotions; reception
studies; youtube; Invisible Children

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