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Thursday, 8 March 2012

Kony2012 – A media study

- Before we begin I would like to state that I don’t care if you think I’m cynical, or for that matter if you think I am an avid supporter of Kony – though I am definitely not that -

The Kony2012 campaign video uses the old Disney narrative of good verses evil, black verses white… & much has already been written highlighting how the matter is in fact much more complex.

But when taken at face value - as a tale of good verses evil - the focus has dwelt on The Evil, namely: Joseph Kony.

What I will look at here is The Good, namely: The Power of Social Networking to bring about Social Justice.

The narrative surrounding the work of the charity Invisible Children Inc. shows how – pre-facebook – they used to have to get up on desolate stages and give presentations, and that wasn’t getting the job done, at least not effectively.

The video is then animated throughout using the format of a social networking site to open videos and to show the number of followers speedily increasing.

But finally, the video states:

“We have reached a crucial time in history where what we do or don’t do right now will affect every generation to come. Arresting Joseph Kony will prove that the world we live in has new rules, that the technology that has brought our planet together is allowing us to respond to the problems of our friends.”

And this I believe is where much of the appeal of the video lies, in (FINALLY) PROVING THAT SOCIAL NETWORKING IS A FORCE FOR GOOD.

We all suspect it is, but wouldn’t some hard proof be nice?

Of course the appeal also extends to being part of something, call it a community if you will, or the need to belong. And of course the righteous opportunity to pull on a cool red bandana, and run around at night sticking up posters.

And this is where the power lies (if its power you are after): the power of diversionary tactics. The power to manipulate large swathes of the Western World by telling them it is they who hold the power. Click.

I have tried in this post to be a detached scholar looking on at an intriguing phenomenon of our age.

But sorry man but I can’t maintain that role no longer.

I somehow fail to see how the US military putting a bullet through Kony's face proves Social Networking’s ability to manifest Social Justice.

Hey You!


Fuck Kony!

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