If you have been anywhere near a computer / a TV / another human in the last week you will have undoubtedly have heard of the Stop Kony 2012 campaign. In the unlikely event that you haven’t, here is the viral that is taking over the world:

Within 24 hours there was a backlash, counter-backlash, and by now, probably several more counter-counter-backlashes. The debate surrounding the campaign is huge. We are providing links to articles that encourage us to look at all the different opinions – regardless of where you stand on this, there are definitely lessons to be learnt for campaigners everywhere.

Here’s a selection of some of the best critiques:

A week on the web: Stop Kony via the Guardian

Charity Invisible Children shone the spotlight on the alleged atrocities carried out by Ugandan guerilla group leader Joseph Kony this week. The charity posted an extraordinary film on Vimeo – but soon found itself under as much scrutiny as Kony. Here’s what the web made of it all:

Rosebell, editor of Channel 16 and a Voice Blogger provides her perspective:

Rosebell was on CNN last night, she contributed to the Guardian story and her video now has over 400,000 views.

shiftLabs’ Jason Wojciechowski writes about the ‘Attention Economy’ – what #Kony2012 and the Oregon Ducks have in common:

This article was promoted on Twitter by Pulizter Prize winning, Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist:

Fascinating look at marketing, a cause or team RT @jasonwhat: how the Oregon Ducks explain Kony2012

A Video Campaign and the Power of Simplicity via the New York Times

Even as the Internet era has accelerated the news cycle, sometimes to mere minutes, there is still one idea that holds true: you need a lash before you can have a backlash:

There’s a Rabid Hunger to Criticize: A ‘Kony 2012’  Creator defends the film via GoodNews:

And finally, a very useful timeline: How the Kony Video Went Viral via the New York Times:


Can the techniques that Invisible Children used be used for other campaigns?

How can you determine how the content from your campaign will be used?

What ramifications does this pose for public engagement and most importantly, how are ensuring that you are actually helping those that you wish too?

Are you working for them or with them?

These questions will no doubt frame the future of public campaigning.