Apr 20, 2012

Call to Cover the Night, but will Kony fighters be Invisible?

The hype generated by Invisible Children’s 30-minute video proved the power of social media, accumulating over 105 million views. But where are those supporters now, asks Dylan Barber?

The hype generated by Invisible Children’s 30-minute video proved the power of social media, accumulating over 105 million online views in the plight to bring Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony to justice. But where are those supporters now?

Almost immediately the unprecedented social movement became as infamous as it was famous, coming under furious criticism for over-simplifying a complex issue, misrepresenting data and encouraging cultural paternalism. The public meltdown of Kony 2012 star Jason Russell didn’t help.

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6 thoughts on “Call to Cover the Night, but will Kony fighters be Invisible?

  1. Jason Dean

    City Of Sydney have a map of several locations on their website where it is legal to put up posters.

    Thanks Crickey for inspiring me to go looking for one!

  2. Graeme Orr

    That explains the slew of ‘Kony 2012’ posters every 10 m on Merivale Street, South Brisbane.

    I consume online media avidly and my wife consumes plenty of social media. But we were both completely bemused to see posters with ‘Invisible Children’ and symbols of American bipartisanship (Elephant overlapping Donkey, both filled with stars and stripes). Its relevance to politics in Australia or social/street level issues here is unfathomable. The whole thing might as well be a surreal cult.

  3. Jenny Haines

    Political action isn’t that simple. Understanding the world is not that simple. If you want more information about Joseph Kony, read a newspaper. Oh sorry, newspapers don’t run stories about Kony. Why not? Too busy reporting on the Kardashians. Well you could read Time magazine or Newsweek. They would have stories about Kony. But those who were attracted to the original viral message spread, probably don’t read these magazines. Understanding the complexities and contradictions of the the world should be taught over the years of high school and university. Is that happening? How is it that we now have some of the highest levels of literacy and learning in the western world but some of the poorest levels of understanding? In our pre-packaged, “just do it” society, have we lost patience with trying to understand the world as it is, warts and all and just want it presented to us in easily digestible units, that we only have to click on to, to feel good? To feel that we have contributed.

  4. Jenny Haines

    And why didn’t it last? Well the contribution has been made. The click onto the original campaign was the contribution.

  5. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Jenny: what you’re saying (even if you didn’t intent to say it) is that print media isn’t up to scratch. I wouldn’t even trust Time and Newsweek to do a great job, although they might be competent at summarising the topic for a USAian audience. On the other hand, there are plenty of websites where you could find out all you want about Joseph Kony, if you were disposed. The Guardian website, Al Jazeera website, Wikipedia, etc.

    Graeme: I saw two Kony signs along Fairfield road yesterday. One of them had the Elephant and the Donkey, which was a WTF moment. There’s been more noticeable and consistent advertising from Unicef targeting East Africa in particular. That’s actually a good thing; they’re competent, and they’re in it for the long haul.

  6. Michael de Angelos

    Far from “proving the power of the social media” the Kony debacle shows the exact opposite: that the social media has become a series of 5 minute wonders where information overload has diluted everything into irrelevancy.

    In the 1960s we had no internet. But I along with tens of thousands of others gathered numerous times to protest the Vietnam War. No-one can deny we brought about real change.

    So mnay are in the thrall of the internet including journalists. The only ‘social change’ it brings about is an endless barrage of Justin Beibers or tales of Jordon’s breast size. It reduces everything including war, mass murderers to YouTube hits to a sort of nothingness.

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