KONY 2012 and Invisible Children — Changing the World Through Social Media?
I feel we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the KONY 2012 video which has gone viral over the past couple of days – and the criticism of Invisible Children, the organization behind it.
So, first, here is the video. It’s received more than 50 million views on YouTube and Vimeo alone, and has pretty much taken over Facebook. If you haven’t seen it, please watch it now. It’s 29 minutes long, and more gripping than any half hour TV show.
After I saw this, I was blown away and ready to do anything to help capture Joseph Kony, the number one most dangerous war criminal in the world. But, of course, when something seems so altruistic and motivated by pure, good intentions, criticism is inevitable.
Because we learned a big lesson from the Susan G. Komen fiasco (you can re-read our It’s Time to Re-Think Pink article here or on Huffington Post), I think we all understand the importance of carefully researching any charity you are considering supporting. You need to be comfortable with how donations are spent and what actions the organization is taking to accomplish their goals.
In the case of Invisible Children, criticism has been leveled against the way they use the money they raise as well as the fact that the group’s plan of attack includes military intervention which puts many more children’s lives at risk.
Here are a few good articles to read:
And here’s how Invisible Children has responded:
After all this, I’m a bit torn. There’s no doubt that Joseph Kony must be stopped. And, having seen Invisible Children COO Jason Russell – who narrates the video – speak in person at TEDx in San Diego a few months ago, I believe this campaign and the people behind it do have the energy, passion and determination to really make a difference. They’re already getting young people involved and turning them into activists. They’re teaching them to be aware of what’s going on around the world and to take action if they don’t like what they see. Russell articulately defends the decision to spend substantial money on raising awareness, and it’s hard to argue with his reasoning. Ultimately, I believe Invisible Children is doing more good than bad.
So, what will I do? Will I donate money? Probably not. Will I participate in Cover the Night? Maybe. Will I write to the politicians who can actually apprehend Kony? Absolutely. Will I share the video and both the positive and negatives so people can make their own educated decisions? Done.
Now, what will you do?