I awoke this morning to a Facebook plastered with KONY 2012 videos, ‘like’s and statuses. The faecal-oral transmission of viral videos has left me bewildered and always slightly behind on such exchanges, if they are that. I think it’s important to look at the root of what exactly it is that we’ve just ingested and ‘shared’ with the expanse of the online community, rather than just clicking a button to ‘like’ or ‘share’ a worthy cause in order to somehow off-set or atone for the idle minutes spent flicking through a friend of a friend of a friend’s holiday snaps. Yes, it’s free (a big point) but all this sharing seems to engage in the same rhetoric of off-set exchange as that of the carbon footprint. By planting a tree, you have not mopped up and made good your international flights or the amount of time you spend on Google: by ‘liking’, and perhaps even watching, a half-hour video your social conscience isn’t free and easy, or at least it shouldn’t be.
Of course Joseph Kony is a Bad Man, and ANYTHING that highlights this fact is a good thing.
The way in which this is done is important, though. And I don’t intend for this post to in any way be detrimental to attempts to raise awareness of the terrible situation in Uganda but that it’s a good cause is certainly not reason to abandon all our (yes, I’m talking to YOU) critical faculties: in fact, if this project is as important as it makes itself out to be then it’s imperative to engage critically in order that the outcome is a successful (and sustainable) one.
I shan’t tell you what to think, you decide. Here are some things to perhaps set you on your way: