Response to Kony2012 Campaign

As seen in the video itself and on the numerous videos posted on the Invisible Children website, the Koby2012 campaign has successfully gained tremendous recognition both nationally and internationally. But, like most other development campaigns and projects, there was sufficient criticism dampening the recent headways of the organization and its initiatives.

The various blogs posted as the assigned readings for this week surprised me. Although there was positive feedback on the campaign, the majority of blogs and articles posted after the release were highly critical. I realized soon after, however, that the negative feedback shouldn’t have surprised me. Realistically, there is always two sides+ to a story and varying ways to express the myriad of ideas. Therefore, there will always be straying opinions and abundant criticisms, especially regarding controversial issues and outside programs’ initiatives to aid in resolving them. But now with the keypad of a computer and the worldwide web readily available at the tip of people’s fingers the effort to condemn a project is nearly effortless and therefore more quickly and vastly spread. Many of the articles, like those of Boyd and Zuckerman, criticized the initiative for its lack of information and networking within groups with which it already had connections. But more telling were the criticisms from Sozi with whom we got the pleasure to videoconference with in class on Wednesday.

As a native of the region he saw the effort differently than anyone who could try to understand from an outside perspective. I found his criticism fair and very insightful. The ones I found most compelling were:

  1. The video didn’t focus on trying to empower the people in the country to take control and combat on their. In this way, the campaign was insulting
  2. Invisible Children has done a lot of great things to help the cause BUT there are various other local organizations and programs that have made significant contribution that were not recognized or promoted.
  3. The stereotypes that the video created, which unintentionally hide the truth from those who don’t know about the problem from the inside or have the self-motivation or drive to find out on their own. They take what is relayed to them as one “truth” of the story that isn’t necessarily true.
  4. This reflects on the information being outdated.
  5. Not the best strategy. Sozi said he would change the strategy that they used and, again, use a video to empower not just to spread information especially since it doesn’t recognize that the worst of the war has ended and that so much has change since; there are other focuses.

Though I do agree that there are flaws in the video Jason sent out, I have to admire his enthusiasm, energy, knowledge, and will to DO something. He was inspired and did what he needed to do in order to gain international notoriety for a cause in which he believed and to an extent that has not been possible thus far using a means that spread the word in the fastest time ever before recorded. Similarly, the initiative successfully gained the attention of the government, a body that has more power than any one individual to facilitate the difference that the people want made on his or her own. It’s hard to incorporate all the details because often it is at the expense of the reader or listener’s attention. He was very strategic in what he did. He used the resources available and ideas he had that others haven’t used, don’t have or haven’t thought to use yet, even if it did mean targeting certain groups that were already established. Either way, he successfully demonstrated the impact of social media in the modern day. More so, he did not just show the power of technology but of people to assemble through the medium of technology, using it as a way to reach out, connect, and have a strong, unified voice in a matter. If you think about it, at least in this regard, it is truly amazing what the video has indicated beyond the Kony rebellion.

Keep in mind, no project is ever perfect but his video was straight to the point, kept my attention the whole time, and drove me to want to get involved immediately. In this way, it was a strong and powerful campaign with a real impact, even if you argue for only to those he was targeting. Realistically, there will always be glitches in campaigns, especially when it is an “outsider” trying to portray a perspective from within, but he accomplished his goal to spread the word and draw attention to the subject internationally. Beyond that, he gave hope to SOME even within the country who didn’t believe the initiative was possible before, he mobilized internal motivation which is more holistically more sustainable to their cause, and unintentionally brought extraordinary amounts of attention to the subject, even if it was criticism, that shed light on the problem that would have been recognized on such a large scale otherwise. Even if indirectly, like the last example, I believe he’s done a truly wonderful job giving the region a voice and utilizing social media to promote and inform of a problem and cause in which to take notice and get involved.

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