Money & Business

Tuesday Buzz: Was KONY 2012 a Cautionary Tale?

By / Dec 16, 2014 (Robert Raines/Flickr)

Invisible Children, the nonprofit behind the mega-viral video that drew attention to Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony, scales back its operations. Also: iPhones get a new automation tool.

Before 2012, nonprofits didn’t go viral so often. In that way, Invisible Children broke new ground for advocacy—and then some.

But KONY 2012’s success always came with an asterisk. It drew nearly as much criticism as praise when it launched. It helped take an obscure movement mainstream, but when it went mainstream, the added pressure at times became too much to handle.

The 100 million views that KONY 2012 received got the group attention, but sustaining it—and moving past it—proved too difficult. Now, as 2014 comes to a close—and with Joseph Kony still not in custody—Invisible Children has decided to scale back its operations in the next year.

The organization, which made its name on strong marketing efforts, plans to lay off most of its staff, close its main office, and outsource its programs in Uganda to regional partners. It will, however, maintain an advocacy program on Capitol Hill and continue to assist as needed in Africa.

“We know that the momentum we all have created can still be a powerful force, with or without the walls of a building,” the organization states. “We believe in the integrity of this movement and that your commitment will endure with or without a trending hashtag. So, we are going back to where we started, a bunch of littles in a ragtag posse, volunteering to act when called upon.”

The Washington Post has something of a pre-mortem for the nonprofit, pondering how groundbreaking its 30-minute video really was.

Automate Your Life

Like tools that complete common tasks for you on the fly? You’re gonna love this, iPhone fans. Last week, the new iPhone and iPad tool Workflow came out, with promises of taking all the apps on your device and making them work together in one simple motion.

And some of the biggest Apple-heads are psyched, too. MacStories founder Federico Viticci, who famously wrote a 25,000-word review of an iOS word processor last year, didn’t get quite that wordy with his review of Workflow, but his excitement is obvious.

“Workflow can automate Calendar events and Reminders, it can parse and extract data from webpages in Safari, and it has full support for Photos and sharing services,” Viticci explains. “It even works with iCloud Drive and extensions. Workflow’s first version lacks some obvious features like backup and sync, but what it does today is an extremely powerful proposition—from both practical and conceptual standpoints.”

If you do download this $2.99 app, by the way, be sure to try out the “Walk to Coffee Shop” option. It will blow your mind.

Other Links of Note

Need a better domain name? The Name Ninja knows a thing or two about that. CMS Wire interviews Bill Sweetman, a domain-name expert who has an awesome nickname.

Try a superhero costume on for size: Event Manager Blog contributor Becki Cross has 18 tips—count ’em, 18—to help you become a social media superhero at events.

Have bad news to share? Make sure the pain doesn’t sting too much. Idea Architects’ Jeffrey Cufaude argues that telling it straight actually makes things less painful.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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