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Tips to Replicate Viral Success

Mitch Robinson

As young social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs look into what 2013 has in store, these non-profit videos that went viral in 2012 may offer us some ideas on marketing projects in 2013.

A well made viral video has taught us the power of marketing an idea in the age of the internet is stronger than it has ever been in the world of non-profits, and startups before. Accelerator programs, like Penn State's, are teaching new marketing strategies and lean startup philosophies to adapt.

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  • Benjamin Friesen

    While "going viral" can be beneficial to a message it can also be dangerous. People don't always research the causes or campaigns they are emotionally drawn to and merely take the information at face value putting faith in an organizer's credibility. Often, there's no investigation by donators into the people/organization asking for money or promoting a cause. When a really touching issue is proposed logical thought is thrown out the window and replaced by a desire to "fit in" because everyone is doing it or talking about it. "Going viral" is effective, but are those effects always positive?

    Because you're using the KONY image let's bring that into perspective.

    The KONY video creator makes a compelling case to find Joseph Kony and make him pay for his crimes. He suggests we do this by getting United States government officials, and undoubtedly the military, involved. Apparently these officials are the only ones who can do something to stop this mad man. Are they really, or are they just the only ones with legal access to an arsenal? So on the surface it looks like people from all over are coming together, notifying their representatives to stop an evil man with military intervention. What most people probably aren't thinking about is the potential use of this cause as an excuse to keep our US tax dollars going towards more war and stocking up our military in this perpetual hunt for the "boogie man". The government and its defense contractors love to hear that people want the military to intervene in more battles, it's a chance to continue to profit off the manufacturing of war machines and systems. The public outcry, which many whole-heartedly believed to be a good thing, has now made it possible for Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, GE, and other defense contractors to make money off indefinite war.

    My feeling is that someone who contributed to the KONY 2012 campaign might think twice about their contribution had they even thought about the possibilities. The hunt for KONY cause inadvertently fuels the on-going military industrial complex effect.