Monday, November 26, 2012

Make Kony Famous

Measuring the success of online campaigns through social media statistics seems like a dangerous move. Because the motive of Kony 2012 was to make Kony viral, this was an obvious success, but where can supporters or those who responded to the "ask" of the campaign view the outcomes or progress of the very thing that played upon their affect and moved them to action? 

The thing that makes Kony 2012 stand out amongst the four examples that Fung and Shkabatur use is that it is asking people to engage in activism where the outcome does not directly affect them. While millions of women, minority youth, online communities are affected by the response to Komen, Trayvon Martin or PIPA/SOPA, the result of Kony awareness is unseen by the vast majority of the videos original viewers. The element of inclusion that the article talks about is perhaps what made the Kony video both so successful and also so controversial. The video was probably so successful because it developed a narrative to play upon affect of people removed from the subject matter. They were brought into a matter of violence that involved human rights, but not their own rights, so they were asked to put their children and their friends onto the faces of the Invisible Children of Uganda and central Africa. So if the mode of the Kony video is more "common and accessible" and increases participation in these low-threshold, shallow, or free practices, what does this mean for the cause at large other than increased visibility. And in the case of Kony 2012 to what extent was the visibility detriment to the cause itself? When you end a song about child soldiers with a hip Jay-Z song that is edited to leave out the next lyric "this is something like the Holocaust, millions of my people lost" the video itself can come under attack rather than Joseph Kony. 

For my act of "slactivism," I tweeted a desperate plea to over 20 celebrities, including those mentioned in the video, to watch the video and donate with only a month left in #Kony2012. I wanted to examine the longevity of what the video was asking of high platform individuals. The only reason celebrities paid attention initially was primarily the sheer mass of people requesting them to look at the video and secondly was the issue of child soldiers itself. Without this first part, the issue itself gets lost. If a celebrity were to clutch to the Kony platform for the entire year since they first heard of the issue, frankly their fans expecting music or an insight into their antics would grow tired and lose interest in their social media presence.

So far no responses....

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