The first major attempt to turn the phenomenally successful “Kony 2012″ viral video into widespread real-world activism appears to have fizzled as “Cover the Night” activities in cities worldwide drew sparse participation, according to international media reports.
Invisible Children, the San Diego charity whose film calling for the capture of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony drew more than 100 million online views last month, sought to mobilize supporters to perform community service and plaster major cities with Kony posters, stickers, stencils, and murals on Friday.
Tens of thousands of people pledged on Facebook to take part in Cover the Night, but in Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Toronto, and other major cities, turnout was light and little Kony-related material was visible on streets Saturday morning, according to The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, and Forbes Advocate.
A commentator on the Forbes Web site says the response to Cover the Night shows Invisible Children “missed an incredible opportunity” to change tactics and further its anti-Kony efforts.
Rather than sticking to its original street-action plan amid criticism of its video and promotional campaign, the charity could have responded by opening up “additional channels of information about things that could help the situation in Uganda and across Africa,” Anthony Wing Kosner wrote.
“This is the ultimate lesson of virality—that it’s a fleeting gift that can be used to expand the scope of your enterprise,” Mr. Kosner said. “Kony 2012 certainly hit a nerve, but [Invisible Children] ignored the second part of the process, like their supporters will ignore the action kits tucked on a shelf in their closets.”