Unless you’ve been hibernating or living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the KONY 2012 campaign that’s been making the rounds. It seems as if you can’t go anywhere without seeing Joseph Kony in one form or another; whether jamming up the news sites, filling up your Facebook timeline or garnering another million views on YouTube, it’s like everyone has their own take on the campaign.
Lest you think we’re here to impress our opinions for or against Mr. Kony, don’t worry; we’re not. It’s the aftermath of this perfect storm of a media phenomenon that we’re really interested in.
It’s the fact that a single perfectly packaged YouTube video could cause such a huge outcry, even though many people who are raising a ruckus don’t actually personally care about Invisible Children (the organisation that created and posted the video) as a charity. And it really doesn’t matter, because the point of this exercise, as so succinctly explained by the organisation itself, was to make Joseph Kony famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective), an objective that has certainly been achieved.
For those who think that sharing the video and buying the action kit is going to bring about a change in Uganda, we celebrate your optimism. Because if even 0.01% of the 60 million people who watched the video actually went out and did something constructive, it would have been worth the complaining and moaning and counter-arguments and accusations of blindly supporting a lost cause.
Over and above all that, it’s a testament to the power of Facebook and the social scene in general; with these tools at our disposal, it’s as if we’ve become a part of a worldwide police squad, where we, as common people, get to give the thumbs up or thumbs down to what the world should or shouldn’t be doing, who should or shouldn’t be trusted, what should or shouldn’t be in the spotlight.
It’s an empowering feeling, justified or not; the Kony event has proven that we can be the generals, the jury, the governors, the policy makers, the Batmen of this new world. The incredible reach and invasive nature of social media gives us a safe, almost untouchable platform to be the good guy who plays a part in catching the baddie, the knight in shining armour that rescues the damsel in distress, the hero that saves the world and gets the girl.
So who’s the Joseph Kony in your world? And with the limitless power of social media at your beck and call, what are you going to do about it?