Have you seen Kony 2012 yet? Of course, you have. As of yesterday, Invisible Children's short film—which focuses on the Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony, the Lord's Resistance Army, and their reign of terror in Uganda that involves using children as prostitutes and soldiers—has been seen by 100 million people on YouTube and Vimeo and is believed to be the fastest-spreading viral video of all-time. It took just six days to reach the 100 million mark and, in that time, it picked up the support of celebrities like Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Christina Milian, Kim Kardashian, and Bill Gates. And while some of the content of the actual film have been criticized in recent days—for instance, some people have pointed out that Kony and the LRA haven't been present in Uganda for more than five years now—the film does show just how powerful social media and the Internet can be today when it comes to launching a social movement.
Kony 2012 may be the most recent example of how social media helped jump-start a social movement. But it's not the only good example of how it can happen. To celebrate the power of Kony 2012—say what you want about it, 100 million views in six days is unbelievable—we decided to put together a list of five other recent social movements that used social media to make history. Whether you took part in them or not, there's no denying that these movements were powerful and proved just how important the Internet can be when it comes to changing the world. They reinforce the fact that things like Kony 2012 represent the new way of the world and provide a blueprint for launching a successful social movement. Check them out.—Chris Yuscavage