The 30-minute video released last week by the San Diego-based group Invisible Children calling for action against Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony provided striking evidence that young adults and their elders at times have different news agendas and learn about news in different ways. Those ages 18-29 were much more likely than older adults to have heard a lot about the “Kony 2012” video and to have learned about it through social media than traditional news sources. Indeed, a special analysis of posts in Twitter showed that it was by far the top story on the platform.
Moreover, younger adults were also more than twice as likely as older adults to have watched the video itself on YouTube or Vimeo. As of March 13, the video had been viewed more than 76 million times on YouTube and 16 million times on Vimeo, making it one of the most viewed videos of all time on those sites.
Special polling and social media content analysis by the Pew Research Center tracks how the “Kony 2012” video and information about it reached so many Americans in a relatively short period of time, and the critical role social media played, especially for adults under age 30.
About the Survey
The survey analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted March 9-11, 2012, among a national sample of 814 adults 18 years of age or older living in the continental United States (487 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 327 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 150 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see: http://people-press.org/methodology/.
The margin of error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence is 4.0 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.
The analysis of the tone of conversation on Twitter utilizes coding procedures created by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism along with computer technology from the media monitoring firm Crimson Hexagon. This analysis is based on an examination of more than 5.4 million tweets related to the Kony 2012 movement.
For more information, please see the Methodology section of this report.