Thursday, 19 April 2012

What happened to KONY fever?

The KONY2012 video first made its way to our computer screens and twitter feeds in March of 2012, the video went viral and almost everyone discovered the raging activist inside of them.

About a month later the sequel was released and it garnered about 2% of the audience that the first video achieved.

So... what happened to KONY fever?

Tomorrow is April 20th, 2012 the night during which the whole city was supposed to be 'painted' red - covered in KONY posters in order to raise awareness of the need to capture KONY. #coverthenight

No doubt many people in March wanted to be part of this movement in April as can be seen by the number of kits bought and the number of people who posted the link to the video. Back then I surely thought that it was going to be a sea of red on Friday April 20th. However, now I'm not so sure. I've heard many say that they bought into the video, purchased the kit, and then did some research and decided to opt out of the movement.

The campaign showed us two important things:
Young people have a desire to be part of a movement
There are indeed injustices that exist in various parts of the world (if not all parts of the world)
Social media is an amazing form of information transfer

There were/are many criticisms to the KONY video from the use of myths/stretched facts, footage that was past due, KONY not being an issue in said country, catering to a specific audience, not exposing the real needs of the Ugandan people, and the focus of Kony in Uganda being a way to get foreign troops onto Ugandan soil in order to secure their hold over Ugandan resources. 

The viral video caused people to gather together and the criticisms created cracks in that unification. Criticisms of course are necessary as many are unaware of what they are buying into and many these days need to be told of the criticisms as they will not research into issues themselves.

However whether or not KONY should be a priority, the issue of the use of child soldiers continues to exist and something needs to be done about it. What is the right way to go about this is still not known but that does not mean that the matter should return to the backburner.

I'm curious to see what the turnout tomorrow will be; will people gather in numbers that could have been expected had the video been released more recently? Will they want to be part of a movement, part of something bigger encourage young people to gather? Or has the spark truly burned out and has KONY fever forever ceased to exist? Only tomorrow will tell...

It also got me thinking, what would be the reaction if another video, similar to that of Invisible Children was created about another all together separate issue in a different part of the world, would the audience react similarly to KONY2012 giving rise to their inner activist or will people here on forth think twice before endorsing such a video again? What does that mean for other real issues that exist out there?

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