If you’re not up with this Kony 2012 phenomenon on the net, look it up. It’s a documentary designed to make him so famous through social media that those who run the world can’t ignore his atrocities any longer and do whatever it takes to bring him to the International Criminal Court.
They claim 99% of the world has never heard of him, in my case they were right. He’s abducted kids, made them kill their parents, and turned them into soldiers for his cause. And he’s been going it in Uganda for 30 years. And believe me, this thing has grown in a way only possible through social media.
Millions upon millions have tweeted and watched the movie. They’re targeting the biggest names for support. But the big question for me is, will it work?
Having people tweet your cause or retweet your message everyday… it doesn’t bring a criminal to justice. So it is a major test for the social media. Is it more than just a thought, chat, joke, idea sharing medium? Can it actually make things happen? And then if it can, and something genuine comes out of this movement, then what? Will it have worked because we now discovered a tangible and meaningful new use for YouTube and Twitter and the net? Or will we then be flooded by endless causes, using the same tactic? So flooded that none are remotely effective.
But also, what if it doesn’t work? What if all we really want to do is pass messages on, express outrage as opposed to do anything about it? Modern activism is really only about the tweet. The modern march or protest is 140 characters and that’s our lot.
And then you have the counter-Kony crowd. Read them too, for all its virtuous qualities. As fast as the Kony 2012 campaign has taken off, so has the anti-Kony campaign. The campaign with the questions and accusations. Why this plight? There are hundreds of stories out there like this one. Dozens of countries with child soldiers. Why haven’t they targeted the president of Uganda who’s seen these atrocities unfold under his watch?
Then there are the suspicious. Those that think the Invisible Children group aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. That it’s really a mechanism for the bloke who made the documentary to get more money to make more movies. It’s a free for all in cyberspace.
But, for now, the optimist is all of us must hope that maybe this is something special and brilliant. Imagine if it worked. They’ve been looking for Kony through the old channels for years. There’s a warrant from the Criminal Court, the US has supplied a hundred specialist military personnel to hunt him down and they haven’t got him.
Imagine if a campaign by a filmmaker, using modern technology, spreading like wildfire all over the planet was able to mobilist enough momentum to do in a month, what they haven’t been able to do in 30 years. That would be quite something. We’ll all find out in April.