Kony 2012: “Human rights on steroids”

Kony t-shirts sell for $10

Today in Introduction to Mass Communication, we’re going to talk about Kony 2012, social networking and media literacy.
Kony 2012 was the most watched human rights documentary of all time. According to a blog called Digital Marketing, we can learn four lessons from the Kony 2012’s social media campaign:

  1. Know your audience and where they are online: Invisible Children targeted young people savvy on social mediums.
  2. Use key influential to carry your brand message: Invisible Children called millions to target change makers, culture makers and policy makers identified.
  3. Get your audience moving: A clear call to action and interactive social media campaign kept people engaged and momentum going.
  4. Beware of the pitfalls: It can be difficult to project the success of a campaign. Have a contingency plan and ensure that your team can adapt quickly and flexibly.

Photo: Daily Dot

Lars Waldorf, senior lecturer in international human rights law at the Centre for Applied Human Rights and York Law School, reviewed Kony 2012 for an article called “Human rights on steroids: Kony 2012 in review,” which appeared in the Journal of Human Rights Practice.
Lucy Harding, the journal’s reviews editor, wrote that Waldorf identified three of Kony 2012’s key features. She said:

  • First, its repackaging of humanitarianism as commodity activism; the video focuses on the producers and consumers of humanitarian products rather than desired beneficiaries of the campaign.
  • Second, the video offers a militant version of human rights by, for instance, combining powerful ideas of both international justice and military intervention.
  • Finally, Kony 2012 uses clicktivism – it invites viewers to simply act through a few clicks.

Factors to consider when examining the effectiveness of Kony 2012:

  • Did the campaign gloss over the complexities of child soldiering?
  • Are there trade-offs between accuracy and effectiveness?
  • Should the campaign have included more voices from Uganda?
  • How did waning public attention impact the campaign?
  • Should Kony 2012 website have offered more information to allow the audience to find answers beyond the core message?

Kony 2012: the Aftermath:

  • Cover the Night. Invisible Children asked supporters to blanket public spaces with red posters on April 20, 2012.

What happened? How many people took part?

  • Move, Invisible Children’s new film, was released on Oct. 7, 2012.(See Invisible Children videos here).

Jason Russell explained his public meltdown in March 2012:

My mind couldn’t stop thinking about the future. I literally thought I was responsible for the future of humanity….It started to go to a point where my mind finally turned against me and there was a moment where, click, I was not in control of my mind or my body.

Nov. 17, 2012 rally, which Invisible Children promised would be “hugely epic.” According to Know Your Meme, about 3,000 people gathered outside the White House for the Move:D.C. rally.
Invisible Children describes itself as crusader for human rights everywhere:

We believe IC is not just a charity, but a group of people choosing to live differently. This blogizine highlights what we’re up to as an organization, what inspires us, challenges us, and makes us laugh. It’s our collective mind written down…We believe in the equal and inherent value of all human life. We believe that a worldview bound by borders is outdated and that stopping injustice anywhere is the responsibility of humanity everywhere. We call this ethos the Fourth Estate.

Naeesa Aziz. Photo: http://www.naeesa.com/

Writer and yoga teacher Naeeza Aziz said the Ugandans have said they don’t want or need help from the Americans. And she criticized the Washington gathering:

There will be speakers, places for folks to lay down their sleeping bags and best of all — a rocking party — because, somehow, changing the world just makes you want to dance, right?
The issue with Invisible Children organizing the country’s largest field trip is the simplification and the merry-making of an intensely complex issue. The group doesn’t seem to want to inform people of all the realities of the LRA/Kony situation, nor does it seem to be engaging its young supporters in any dialogue about how they feel or how the issue correlates to their experience as Americans.
Unlike the Trayvon Martin protest or the social movements in the Middle East born out of true frustration, Invisible Children is spoon-feeding activism to young people.
Just send in the $10 for your “I’m Concerned About Kony Kit” and you’ll fit right in.

2 thoughts on “Kony 2012: “Human rights on steroids”

  1. Pingback: Final exam review | Writing • Photography • Blogs • Journalism

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