What Kony 2012 Really Taught Us

Invisible Children’s viral marketing campaign unintentionally informed a lot of digital activism to follow.


Episode Notes

In 2012, the non-profit organization Invisible Children released Kony 2012, a short film about the human rights violations in Uganda perpetrated by Joseph Kony, which rapidly took over the internet and made Joseph Kony a household name. On today’s episode, Rachelle and Madison look back at the origins of the organization, how its creator handled the extreme popularity of their viral moment, and what lessons we learned from its utter failure.

Podcast production by Daniel Schroeder and Derek John.


About the Show

Join Madison Malone Kircher and Rachelle Hampton twice a week as they gaze deep into the online abyss—and tell you what’s gazing back. All episodes


  • Rachelle Hampton is a culture writer and reporter at Slate. Her work has appeared in the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian Magazine, and In These Times. She still hasn't recovered from Tumblr's demise.

  • Madison Malone Kircher is a senior writer at Slate. She was previously a staff writer at New York magazine, where she covered internet culture and edited New York’s Approval Matrix. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Vulture, and the Cut. Madison lives in Brooklyn, where she regularly drops her phone on her face watching TikToks in bed.