Image via The Complex
Last week, you may have heard of a fellow named Joseph Kony. If so, no doubt you heard about it through your social networks. KONY 2012, a video produced by the nonprofit Invisible Children, hit 60 million hits over the weekend on YouTube. The very persuasive video details the exploits of Joseph Kony, a Ugandan warlord tied to recruiting child soldiers, among other atrocities.
Now, no one is arguing this Kony fellow is good. He’s a horrible person by any measure. But some have issue with the Invisible Children’s tactics and messaging. The group has questionable accountability practices and a financial breakdown shows that most of the group’s funding goes towards awareness programs, not aid. On top of all that, there’s the inconvenient fact that Kony himself isn’t even in Uganda.
Taking a step back, this is an interesting case of the power (and limits) of social media. Thanks to the virality of the web, millions of people now know the name of Joseph Kony, and perhaps this sheer mass awareness might lead to productive changes in policy. But finding a solution to Kony and those like him won’t be as easy as posting an update or retweeting. So where do we go from here?