Is ‘Slacktivism’ the reason for KONY 2012?

The documentary KONY 2012 has enveloped the internet since Wednesday, with over 70 million YouTube and Vimeo views. The topics #stopkony, Uganda, Invisible Children, and LRA were also prevalent on Twitter throughout the week.

The film seeks to bring attention to Joseph Kony, the leader of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Kony is known for his crimes against humanity, specifically abducting children and turning them into child soldiers and sex slaves.

As Zoe Fox’s article shows, critics of the movie have questioned the finances and Invisible Children as an organization and the film’s promotion of slacktivism.

Slaktivism refers to the inability of people using social media to create change. With the KONY 2012, it has broken barriers by showing just how ‘slacktivists’ have successfully made Kony well known. Regardless of ones opinion of Invisible Children or Joseph Kony, the campaign has shown the impact of social media.

A commonly accepted online video rule is that people normally stop watching a video after two minutes. KONY 2012 is almost 30 minutes long, and in a study an equal amount of people who saw the video watched the entire thing.

The video itself has accomplished its goal by creating buzz and making the issue well known. It is a giant step in showing how social media can have a considerable impact. After the film’s viral success, Uganda said on Friday it would capture Kony either ‘dead or alive’.

A criticism about the intent or motive of Invisible Children aside, this video has shown firsthand how social media and the digital movement are turning the traditional methods of information on its head. It has shown how an issue can permeate the internet and become considered newsworthy through ‘slacktivists’.


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