Kony 2012 joins an interesting year of social network activism. Awareness that the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was driven by right-wing anti-women women leading to plummeting donations to Komen, and a rise in donations to Planned Parenthood. Making Rush Limbaugh apologize and costing him sponsors. Fascinating examples of how social networks can create a tide of public opinion to great effect.
In the last day or so, the world is suddenly concerned with a this terrible Kony warlord. And the entity that spread the word wants you — if you care for children and object to rape and murder and terror — to donate money to them and share with your friends the news and calls for donations. 43 million views on YouTube. 14.2 million on Vimeo. Astonishing.
Being engaged is important. Making a difference and helping those who struggle is important. But the effect of the video and the excitement of being part of a quick-response online movement has seemingly made many people's critical thinking skills temporarily disengage. What is this group Invisible Children behind the video? Are they good or bad? Do they spend money wisely? I don't have all those answers, but there's a lot of cause for skepticism before forking over money. And they do ask for money, over and over again.
A critical mind about the Kony 2012 online fad in no way constitutes an endorsement of raising children to kill and rape their own family members, run drugs, and making life as shitty as possible for others.
P.S. - This article on Jezebel about this topic is really good.