The Kony 2012 campaign is one of the most noteworthy socio-political crusades of our time.
- May be found at the following website: http://www.kony2012.com/get_the_kit.html
On March 5, 2012, Invisible Children Inc. released a short film entitled Kony 2012. The film immediately went viral, unearthing the potential of online platforms to facilitate political activism. As of September 19, 2012 , Kony2012 had over 92 million views on YouTube and over 16.6 million views on Vimeo.
Joseph Kony is a Ugandan war criminal and International Criminal Court fugitive. The film aspires to make this villain ‘famous’, and promote the charities “Stop Kony” movement. The enormous success of the film, in terms of audience size, publicity and public and government support, exemplify the potential of social media to engage the masses and potentially create radical change.
However the film is not without its critics. Many feel the video has simplified a very complex issue. Others feel this is a lazy way of engaging with activism suggesting the movement is an example ‘slactivism. ’ Davies claims ‘slactivism’ is: “a portmanteau combining the words “slacker” and “activism”. This term [describes] the act of passively supporting causes in order to tap into the satisfaction that accompanies philanthropy, without having to do any heavy-lifting (or heavy spending).” Miller declares, “Linking to a video on Facebook is one thing. Getting off the couch is quite another,” this notion mirrors many critics thoughts on the Kony 2012 effort.
Kony2012 supporters were asked to partake in ‘Cover The Night’ on April 20, 2012. The event saw activists involve themselves in some sort of charity work during the day, then overnight plaster Kony2012 merchandise all over there local area to spread the ‘Stop Kony’ message. The turnout for the event was smaller than expected with Hager stating a gathering in Vancouver had merely 17 people and one in Brisbane saw fewer than 50 participants.
This body of work will endeavor to examine the strengths and vulnerabilities associated with the communication practices employed by Invisible Children Inc. Despite the success of the film – in terms of creating awareness – the Kony 2012 movement, as Gladwell coins, is an example: “of the shallower, low-risk cousin of traditional activism, as seen in the Civil Rights Movement.”