Invisible Man

konyyI read the RU Storytelling piece and I instantly thought of the Kony 2012 champagne. Does everyone remember the Invisible children organization that came out with those videos last year to make people more aware of Kony and the his path of destruction? I remember one day last year when the invisible children videos, articles, and statuses filled my newsfeed on Facebook. I inevitably watched a video because I was so curious about what all the buzz was about. When I watched the video I was so completely horrified and shocked. It definitely tugged at my heart-strings. I had no idea who Kony was before watching that video and after watching it I was determined to help as much as I was able to. I couldn’t do much being a struggling college student but I ordered on of those Kony 2012 bracelets almost as soon as I finished the video. It was that powerful that I needed to jump into action almost immediately. A few days later people started to post different things about the Invisible children organization, good and bad. People started to say that the money from products like the bracelet I ordered or their special Kony kit was not being used entirely on the capture Kony mission. It was said that some of the money did go to the cause but some of it also went to funding the organizations propaganda. Which I understand needing money to fund ways to get the message out but I was hoping the larger part of the money made from merchandise was used towards the cause. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of all this and it felt as if the buzz about Kony had faded out of my newsfeed almost as rapidly as it had appeared. I waited for over a month and a half to finally receive the bracelet I had ordered after countless emails apologizing that my order was taking so long but therekony were so many orders that needed to be filled that they were extremely backed up. But I thought okay this makes sense, and when I finally received the bracelet it was more like a thin metal circle tied on a piece of thin red string. I was afraid to even wear it because I wasn’t sure if it would break or not. I am not trying to present a case of pro/ con Invisble Children I am just recounting a memory. Never the less, I do agree that Joseph Kony does need to be captured. My point is to show how much the web affects people and causes.

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4 thoughts on “Invisible Man

  1. I remember when the whole KONY campaign blowing up on Facebook, Twitter, and every other social media site out there. Everyone was in full support of the KONY efforts and I remember being invited to five or six different events on Facebook to put up KONY posters around my town and around the RU campus. Like you, I felt such a strong desire to help in any way I could. So right after I watched the video I was compelled to buy a KONY t-shirt. I also remembering regretting buying that t-shirt the next day when people started posting articles and videos about how the KONY campaign kept most of the money donated to them. My point is, the internet is such a powerful tool these days. All these people did was create an awesome video and post it online for everyone to watch; and in a matter of minutes, they had donations and purchases pouring in from all around the world.

  2. This has potential to be a paradoxical situation if you think about it. People call for a reduction of government, which does include not giving foreign aid, but a reduced government is what allowed people like Kony to gain control in the first place. But there is a primary difference between the US and Africa that prevents this from being paradoxical. The difference is that Kony was able to come to power over the lack on internal government in Africa. If the US cut back on some of its foreign aid, we wouldn’t be cutting back on our internal government and it wouldn’t be nearly as easy for any American versions of Kony to arise. I did not support the movement even from watching the initial video. We do have a massive debt, it doesn’t need to get bigger, and I would rather see a reduction in foreign aid spending than a reduction to some of our social welfare programs. And I certainly don’t want a 5 dollar foot-long to become a 5,000 dollar foot-long.

  3. I agree its amazing the degree to which viral videos influence our beliefs and especially our understanding of current events.

    The issue with this video in particular is that the entire driving force behind it (the ‘if only more people knew’ initiative) allows for armchair activism – how much it actually gets done is questionable and the information it provides (information that, because it’s on YouTube and comes from a legitimate organization is assumed infallible) is not necessarily useful in the way many hope it will be.

    The world knew about Kony’s LRA and has made many efforts (2005-2012) to take him down long before this video went viral. The video, which hopes that providing the public with information on Kony’s crimes will make it easier for Ugandan government to capture him uses the power of viral video for good… even though Kony had not been in Uganda for a decade and even though governments have already had they eye on him for years before this video appeared.

    The money donated to save children from becoming child soldiers is for a very noble cause, yet the driving force behind the video itself gives people around the world a false sense of activism while discouraging them to research current events for themselves.

  4. Although many people came out and said that the video was a scam and that all the producers and companies were taking part of that money to profit their business I do think some good came out of it like you said. Another way in which social media does help situations like this is that it gets the word out. Even though various different people probably got money from the donations being made to the KONY2012 campaign, it did get the word out about what was actually going on. We don’t hear about a lot of news from different countries because our society is so focused on some horrific events that take place within the US. We are a very naive and ignorant society in many ways because we submerge ourselves in so many people’s personal lives through the local news channels focusing on a single death of a family or car accidents or forest fires for example. These world events that are so horrific and tragic do need to be spoke about and if it weren’t for Facebook and Twitter, I probably would have never even known about the truth to what is happening in the world and the events that take place right in front of our eyes.

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