the concept of a video 'going viral' still blows my mind. in the past few days, Invisible Children's Kony 2012 campaign has completely taken over social media on a global scale. if you live under a rock and don't know what i'm talking about, stop, open a new tab, go to www.invisiblechildren.com and read up now. finished? well done you. challenged? i should certainly hope so.
it is not surprising that a movement of this size would generate both positive and negative support. i'm not writing because i have some massive readership that i hope to bring awareness to, and i'm not writing to express support or criticism of IC's kony campaign. i'm writing because the attention drawn to this issue through the mighty avenue of social media has sent a warped message about what it takes to affect change in the world around us.
IC has effectively drawn attention to a shocking injustice. through merely lifting one finger, then subsequently dropping it when the mouse is hovering over the 'share' button, an individual can feel as if they have played a part in bringing about change. there, they say, i have done my bit, i have played an integral part in putting an end to all that is wrong with the world.
social media has made it easy to show your support for this cause (and any other cause for that matter). in this case, the medium is the message, and the message that social networking has sent is that minimal efforts on your part can have maximum effects on the world around you. while i have been impressed with some of the comments i have read from people who i never would have guessed would care about justice issues, i still have news for you. easy doesn't change the world. easy doesn't get things done. it's easy to click 'like' or 'share'. it's even easy to be indignant when someone opposes this cause, and relatively, it's easy to engage in a comment war with someone who says this campaign is bogus.
but easy doesn't change the world.
what changes the world is getting up off your ass and doing something. the guys that started IC stumbled upon something that they knew they absolutely could not ignore. and they did something. they completely altered the trajectories of their lives to make sure that the plight of child soldiers is known. as someone who works for a tiny wee non-profit organization (that happens to be approximately the same age as IC), when looking at the website, videos, press and even the budget that ic has created, i cannot even comprehend the amount of time, effort, stress, and love that must have been poured into their work to gain the momentum they have in such a short period of time. it actually blows my mind.
so to all the critics, to all the haters sitting on your computer saying that these guys aren't really doing anything, or that they're greedy and the money is being misspent or whatever particular hate train you choose to ride, here's my advice. go do something useful. criticizing a movement is easy. try getting up out of your comfy chair, turning off the computer and making a commitment to bringing positive change to this planet we call home.
besides - talking about Kony, whether you're pumping the IC campaign or dissing it, is bringing attention to the cause, so kudos - your hating has served a purpose.
however, whether you are a supporter or a critic, of this or any other issue we face today - to see real change in this world, you're going to have to do a bit more than just clicking 'like'.