I know a million people have talked about and analyzed the Kony 2012 video, but I’m here to write another analysis.
When talking about this week’s discussion of “activism” and “citizen journalism”, I couldn’t help but wonder, aren’t they kind of the same thing in this day in age?
In the article “Five Reason’s Why the Kony Video Went Viral”, Suddath mentions that “activists use such platforms as YouTube and Vimeo to reach the people they are trying to help…”
In my opinion, it’s not just charities. It’s that girl in her room posting a how-to video on how to French braid your hair, or Denton residents angrily ranting on Twitter about a Subway restaurant being built on the square. These types turn to social media to reach a target audience and actively discuss, plan and carry out their beliefs and “campaigns”.
In addition to the five reasons Suddath gave, I believe that’s what made this video a viral success. You could relate to the guy telling the story not as a charity, but as someone sharing their opinion on YouTube.
Although the video brought millions of people together sharing their opinions over the video, some of those opinions were not in favor of this campaign.
Charlie Beckett, a citizen journalist himself posted on his blog that he felt the Kony 2012 video “misrepresents reality [and is]… is misguided.” On some level I agree with Mr. Beckett. Do we really know where Kony is and what is going on?
This is the problem with citizen journalism/activism, the spread of misinformation. This video being so popular spread potentially false information to millions of people. The spread of misinformation can be potentially harmful. Will this in the make things worse for those in Africa in the long run? How do we know where this money we are donating is really going? These are questions we must ask ourselves when watching a citizen journalist’s opinion.
Even Channel 4 journalists have taken a look at this video and blog about it and they see it as spreading falsities. However, they do agree that “this is the way to spread a video.”
Another reason Beckett felt the Kony video was distasteful is because “It will distract from real problems and disappoint people who have signed up. If it fails will people trust human rights campaigns in the future?” I have to ask myself this very same question, and the only real answer I can come up with is yes. Especially if those human rights groups format their videos to be like this one. (Which would be smart on their behalf). Not only that, people forget about causes and move on to the next thing. That is the power of the Internet and its affect on our state of activism. Finally there will always be someone out there who will donate to your cause if you spin it the correct way. So I have to disagree with Mr. Beckett on this account.
In the end, although potentially harmful and inaccurate “rumors” were spread through this Kony 2012 video, it did show the power viewers have on citizen journalism and charities alike.