March 13, 2012
By now you’ve probably seen the KONY2012 video – it’s been everywhere in the last few days; on mainstream on and off line news outlets, social networks, and was the first video to reach 100 million views on YouTube. One of the stated objectives of the campaign by Invisible Children was to raise awareness of the atrocities committed by Joseph Kony in Uganda. [TICK]
The video talks about the desire to arrest Joseph Kony and bring him to justice, and then asks supporters to sign up to an online petition and buy a kit that will ultimately end in what it calls ‘Cover the night’… where supporters paste posters in towns and cities around the world on April 20th 2012. On April 21st [a Saturday, for the record] the world will likely wake up to poster-covered towns and cities… but how does this help achieve the states objective of bringing Kony to justice.
I suspect that Invisible Children will forward on their petition, containing millions of names to some pretty powerful people… but, at the end of the day, it’s just another document with a lot of names on it. Will it really persuade political leaders to take action?
Having used social networks to spread the word, why not use these same networks to lobby the people ultimately with the power to find, arrest and try him? What if the call to action had been for each and every person that has watched the video to email, call or write to their senator, their member of parliament, their Prime Minister or President? It’d be hard to ignore 100 million emails… 100 million letters, 100 million voices.
A campaign can raise awareness… but, no matter how admirable the sentiment, unless it has a call to action that will mobilize the audience to actions capable of delivering the intended objective all the awareness in the world won’t help the cause.