Video of Joseph Kony shows just how much Social Media can create...

Video of Joseph Kony shows just how much Social Media can create a frenzy

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In a matter of hours, a video called Kony 2012 about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony spread across the nation. The video describes how Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army have terrorized Uganda and surrounding countries, specializing in kidnapping children and forcing them to fight. The video was produced by an organization called Invisible Children inc., a non-profit organization which started in 2004 after founders Bobby Bailey, Laren Poole and Jason Russell traveled to Africa to document the atrocities in Darfur and discovered that there was much more going on that mainstream media was not reporting.Kony 2012 is about 30 minutes long and has been described by many as probably one of the most powerful films ever seen. It has created a stir that has spanned throughout the nation overnight…enough so, that a movement has been created to raise awareness and a nationwide event called Cover the Night 2012 being held on April 20 all across the nation, possibly including our very own Texas A&M University – Kingsville.

Students across campus have also participated in the sharing of this viral video and have declared a call for action as well.

Here’s the problem, the event aims to “Make Kony famous” in order to help garnish enough support to force action against the already infamous warlord and have him arrested. In order to accomplish this, organizers are asking that participants around the country that “On April 20th 2012, the USA and other countries around the world are joining Invisible Children (http://www.invisiblechildren.com/) to make Kony famous by putting up red KONY 2012 posters, wearing red KONY 2012 tshirts and stickers. Our goal is to cover the night on 20th April with KONY’s name on a sea of red, document this action, and send it to Invisible Children so the world will see that we are demanding justice.”

Of course, they are asking that you purchase from their online store.

Invisible Children Inc. does have its critics. One blog, in particular, Visible Children, goes as far as to question the intent of Invisible Children Inc. and includes a link their financial records, which are public, by the way. (In case you’re interested. Click here.)

Obviously, with every movement, there will be its critics and Cover the Night 2012 or Make Kony famous 2012 or whatever you want to call it is no exception.

There is no question, there is a problem in Uganda that needs to be fixed. There is no question that Joseph Kony needs to be arrested, tried and punished. There is no question that the atrocities such that as humans, we feel the need to “do something” even if it is only by wearing red for one day and unite in order to help raise awareness to a problem that exist half way around the world. Awareness is good.

…but what happens after 4/20? What then? Do we wait for the next movement to come along so we can  spend our money on media kits in order to help raise awareness? Or, do we continue to fight for the same cause…you know, finish what we started, see it through until the end and the problem is resolved?

Invisible Children Inc. was able to accomplish at least one thing. It used social media to get its message out to millions of people through hashtags and Facebook postings. It created a frenzy, especially with college students who are actively looking for causes to support, because that is what we do.

It also helped college students become more socially conscious of the evils outside of Facebook by using the very tool that allows students to escape from their own perceived demons. As one student put it, “It helped (college) students unite for a cause…that people still cared.”

It created the realization that many of our problems are minuscule in comparison to those in Third World countries.

It also proved that a small organization can influence mass media to jump on the social media bandwagon in order to help spread the message to a wider audience.

Say what you will, but it is incredibly refreshing to see such a large amount of college students talking seriously about an incredibly horrendous social issue.

Cover the Night 2012 may not succeed in influencing action against Joseph Kony, but it succeeded in creating a mass awareness of a problem that needs to be solved. It may only be one step, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Editor in Chief of the South Texan at Texas A&M University - Kingsville

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