So last night, while waiting for my laundry to dry, I was looking at Facebook and I noticed that two people I knew had shared a video called “Kony 2012”. Well, I watched that little vid and by the time I’d done so, like four more people had shared it. So, what the hell? Kony seemed like a bad guy and getting awareness out there seemed like the least I could do.
I won’t pretend that I wasn’t swayed by the video, although I hesitate to use that term, as I was probably as indifferent as most people before I watched it. But there it was. The video put things in simple enough terms to push me to take some kind of action, however small. It said “Here is the problem,” and showed us Kony. It said, “here’s what you can do,” and reminded us of the collective power we have through social media. Did I want Kony stopped by the end of the video? Wull sure! And all I had to do was click a button? Count me in. I went to bed feeling pretty great about myself.
This morning I wake up and I take a look at Reddit.com for the first time in my life. A friend had suggested it and I thought, why not? I clicked on the “Controversial” tab first, deciding to jump right in there. The first thing I see is a comment stream asking why an article questioning the legitimacy of Invisible Children had been removed. Que? Legitimacy? HADN’T THEY SEEN THE VIDEO!?!
I read on and found that most of the commenters were making jokes and delegitimizing the initial comments themselves, and so I dismissed it. Perhaps this happens often on Reddit, I figured. But still, red flag Number One. By the time I got to work there were articles everywhere cautioning readers and social media-ites against supporting Invisible Children.
What I want to focus on most here is not whether the video or Invisible Children are right or wrong. I want to point out the dangers of having that share button so close to our finger tips. Last night, before I shared that video, I could have done some research and looked up Invisible Children myself. But I was too lazy. I might have found what everyone is screaming about today. Maybe I could have even been the first person to whisper a word of caution, which is one of my stated goals for this blog.
Now, those that wanted to help have been marginalized by the correctors out there who slept through the Kony explosion and had the wherewithal to do a little research first. It would almost seem that once the backlash started, we forgot the issue altogether. “Yes, Kony is a bad man…” the correctors assure us, and then follow up with the progress killer: “…but…”.
And just like that, we’re back to indifference about Africa because one group knew too little and another group knew just enough to make them look silly, but couldn’t provide a solution to the real problem. Who can? Perhaps Invisible Children is a less-than-perfect organization. Is that a reason to stop pursuit of such an evil man? Or forget that a solution can be found? People are aware now, so WHO is going to come up with a solution? Not me. But last night I/we discovered someone who had invested time in finding a solution and seemed to have a platform for action.
Don’t get lazy, bros. Do your research, find the truth, and let us know. Just don’t leave us flapping in the wind, more torn than we were before.