Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kony 2012 - Awareness

First, i'd like to make the information i'm pulling some of these ideas, facts, and opinions from available to everyone. As there have been numerous responses and critiques to the Kony 2012 campaign, Invisible Children posted some facts and explanations that I believe help clear up a lot of the questions posed by anti-IC groups and individuals. The link to that page can be found here.

The following is a quote from the aforementioned Visible Children post. While VC is definitely NOT the only one posing this question, I feel that this quote represents the question/issue found in numerous other sources.

"Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow."


Let me first remind this blogosphere of one of the many campaign slogans of the Invisible Children Kony 2012 project.

Make Him Famous

So yes, its true that one person changing one Facebook profile picture will not capture Kony. But if you think it doesn't make any difference, you don't understand social media. Have you heard of the snowball effect? 3 people change their picture, or post a status, or tweet a link, or view a video. And then 3 of their friends. And 3 friends of those friends. And before you know it, a video that has been on the internet for 3 days has nearly 40 million views. (which is exactly what the Kony 2012 video has done) People notice. And if people are willing to take their newfound awareness and turn it into action, action like writing a congressman, making their voice heard, etc... the government will take heed. The world can change. And those 3 people who changed their profile picture are part of something MUCH bigger. Allow me to quote something I wrote in response to someones anti-social media post, citing the Kony 2012 campaign as a passing fad to which a Facebook status will not aid and does not "put a bullet in Kony's head". (Which, by the way, is NOT the goal of Invisible Children. Putting him on trial in the International Criminal Court IS) 

"...I think the people who are opposing this "trend" don't quite understand the power of social media. A facebook status, while it doesn't physically put a bullet in Kony's head, spreads awareness. So does a tweet, a blog post, a YouTube video, etc... We are asking people to get educated, isn't that what spreading the word about Kony is doing? Allowing people to educate themselves? Justin Beiber started out as a kid on YouTube, and he's now one of the most famous individuals in the world. Social media and the internet are the new picket lines, the rally's, the marches, the protests. This is how people are spreading the word, its faster, cheaper, more efficient, and more widespread than anything ever used before."

So I agree that these problems are "highly complex, not one-dimensional". But since nothing will ever happen to solve the problem until people know that the problem exists, I cannot agree with the statement that these problems "...aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture." This problem is exactly the kind of problem whose solving starts with postering, film-making, and changing your Facebook profile picture. A problem that has been going on for 20 years and has received little to no attention before now, a problem that was invisible, needs to be visible. And that's exactly why we are making Kony famous. Because it is the first step towards bringing justice to him, and towards giving all the children affected by the LRA a chance to be liberated, and to make sure another generation isn't forced to suffer through it. 

Overall, I don't even mind if people want to hate me for using social media, whether they understand it or not. To state my reasoning for such an attitude, allow me to once again echo what I have said on Facebook once before.

"Hate me for 'jumping on the bandwagon'
Ridicule me for being young and joining a cause
Criticize me for using social media as part of my effort to spread the word
Judge me for 'following the trend'
Bash on me for supporting one movement when there are so many others worth of support

No really, please do. Because when it comes to making Kony famous, even the haters help move the campaign move forward.

No publicity is bad publicity my friends.

If you're gonna support, support. If you're gonna hate, hate. But if you're looking to down this movement, just know that even negative attention is attention. And attention is what we are looking for.


As i've said before on my blog, twitter, and Facebook, nothing I am saying is meant to be a personal attack on individuals whose views differ from mine. I put this information forward simply as a resource for those who would like to be informed and are interested in hearing all sides of the story. If you would like to discuss this topic in a civilized manner, I am more than willing to chat. Just message, comment or post and i'd be happy to talk.


  1. Let's be honest... you know what you're talking about. I support this cause 100%

  2. You're right-- Criticizing 'Invisible Children' for their finances is flawed. There's nothing wrong with it. Sure, 32% sounds like a low number for money spent on actual programs, but (I consider) the IC to be first, and foremost, an awareness and fundraising entity, and they spend an additional 37% on their films, products and their numerous(and successful)awareness conferences. All of that added up is money well spent, in my book.

    Another problem people seem to be having with this movement is the "Facebook Activism"--- But no one has any right to judge what someone else's intentions are. It's childish to call someone out for "following the trend" or a "Fauxactivist" if they "liked" or "shared" the video on their Facebook wall. No one has any ground to tell another person how they actually feel.

    So far,I feel great. I'm supportive.

    Until you realize what this means...

    What the Kony 2012 movement is asking for, is American involvement. They want troops on the ground. And because of a very moving, very emotional 30 minute video.

    The citizens of the United States of America have been sent to and/or involved in, far too many wars that have been arguably unpopular. Vietnam, Iraq 1, Afghanistan, Iraq 2 Libya...

    Each time, We went to put an end to one man, or one group. What did it cost? Money. Lives. What was gained?

    Why is it okay now, but it was awful then?

    My heart hurts for the people of Africa. Something must be done to stop this evil man. But why must it be violence? Because that's exactly what will happen. Violence.

    What those people need is fresh water, shelter, food and above all, knowledge. With the the opportunity to learn comes the opportunity to grow-- and live.

    Again, I support the idea. I love that people are getting active and reminding them there's a whole world around them that needs them.

    I love your giant heart. You're one of the most selfless people I know.

  3. The IC isn't calling for a violent intervention. They are calling for US troops to go in and help the Ugandan army strategize and train and use the techniques and technology that would otherwise remain unavailable to them. The goal is to capture, not kill, Kony and send him to trial through the International Criminal Court. So far as I understand, US troops would not be sent to the battle field, but to aid in training areas.

    I realize it would be naive to believe that military intervention of any kind would remain absolutely peaceful and harmless. But violence is not what IC is asking for from the US. War is not the main goal here.

    Fresh water, shelter, food and above all knowledge with the opportunity to learn, grow, and live are not going to be available to them until Kony is stopped. But I agree, that is what they need. All those things AND the freedom to use and enjoy them thoroughly, out from under Kony's reign.