KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.
I have been watching in amazement and fascination as this video has gone viral in the last couple of days. I read today that since its release on March 5th, its already had over 40 MILLION views. WOW. I am amazed at the reach it has had - friends in countries all across the world, stay-at-home moms, students, parents... everyone seems to know about this. They know about Kony, now. And the vast majority are ready to do something about it. Pretty incredible.
As with anything like there, there is more than one side to this story, and plenty to discuss and debate about the approach that Invisible Children is taking:
- From NPR: While Controversial, 'Kony 2012' Has Put Focus on Atrocities
- Long-time critic of Invisible Children: Visible Children
- Response from Invisible Children to critiques
But for right now, I want to recognize that something big has happened. These folks have figured out how to use our social networks to inform us about an issue. People who have never heard about Invisible Children before, have heard about it now. They've informed, they've inspired, they've given a call to action, and people across the planet are responding. They've shown the power of our networks, the power of this information age. And notably, they've got x million viewers on a video that is far longer than the 2 minute limit for most people's attention spans. This video is crossing all sorts of borders. How did you hear about it? This blog? Facebook? Twitter? The nightly news? A celebrity endorsement? From your officemate? The walls have come down between social media and the media - personal relationships and virtual ones.
I am so excited about this and the potential it has demonstrated. Decide what you wish about how we should be dealing with Kony. It is an ugly and complex issue. But remember this moment - the moment you suddenly had an intimate opinion about something happening in central Africa. The moment you realized your mom just posted this video on facebook or talked or debated this issue with your students or colleagues. Our citizenship is not just to our community or country, anymore. We are at the point that our technology is truly allowing us to be citizens of the world, for better or worse.
If you haven't watched it yet, you should. People are talking about it, its become part of our cultural consciousness. But watch it with eyes that not only see the important issue it is advocating, but also the way that the information is being transmitted to you - the way the information found you, and how you share it. Because if I were a betting person, I would bet you'll be seeing a lot more of this.