Kony 2012: Sharing Through Social Media Is NOT a Form of Slacktivism
If you have yet to watch the video that went extremely viral this past week, you may be missing out on something that is an earthly movement. Kony 2012 is a video regarding a potential war criminal in Uganda, Joseph Kony, who has been accused of horrendous criminal activities amongst children.
The purpose of the 30min. documentary was to educate the world through the force of Social Media, enlightening us of Kony’s heinous crimes and for the “Invisible Children” to be seen globally. The video does grab viewers’ attention and for many, pondering the reality of international injustice.
Since the video has spread via social networks, it has received much backlash regarding the intentions of the Invisible Children Foundation by Mashable and many other sources across the web. The second questionable action is the force of Social Media’s ability or in some opinions, lack thereof. Calling the spreading of the video a form of slacktivism, which according to Wikipedia is
“A term formed out of the words slacker and activism. The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist. The underlying assumption being promoted by the term is that these low cost efforts substitute for more substantive actions rather than supplementing them, although this assumption has not been borne out by research.”
This is transpiring after 2011, the year of the protester.
Have we changed that drastically as a whole in 2012? Or is this due to the non-direct position that this particular instance holds? Arguably, the indiscretions of the Foundation backing the Kony 2012 demise may be brought to question, but with that aside, have we really lost the ability to fight for other people? Or when we fight will it only be for ourselves?
Last year, we fought hard for the Occupy movements that had businesses ruling the many direct inflictions upon society as well as giving a voice to the 99% of people who fight to live daily. Many of us could relate to the statistic and therefore the force of Social Media was never called a form of slacktivism, instead it was a platform of power that kept the world informed and connected as many movements formed worldwide. Although, it had more attention in the year 2011, the Occupy groups still exist and fight for the rights to be heard in hopes of a change.
This is one recent example of how Social Media has helped us globally unite and banned together for what we believe is the greater good for us all. There have been many activists’ that have utilized the means Social Media brings, a voice.
The point is sharing through Social Media is not a form of slacktivism. People are not simply sharing so they can feel good about doing nothing about the issue; in fact, they are sharing it amongst their inner and outer circles of people, hence, doing something. This means that through this action, the voice of the cause is being heard by one or thousands of people who will most likely do the same, helping the cause to not become stifled and neglected.
Money is not always the solution, throwing it at a cause does not make the world a better place, yes it is kind and yes in most instances, it does help, but sharing the awareness and educating people can cause change, or uncovering global issues that once kept us in the dark with such horrific actions in which have been kept under lock and key, until the formation of Social Media that is.
Social Media with its many purposes and outlets honor our rights to be heard, to feel connected and to yes, share what affects us. It also enables us to make choices on how we choose to act upon situations such as the Kony 2012 viral video. It is great that people are choosing to do their research prior to quickly donating to a cause, it is great that people are writing about their findings and (here comes that word again) sharing what they find through Social Media, but let’s not lose sight of what the point of this video is, or the fact that innocent children are being used and abused by their elders. Why are we not researching and writing and yes, sharing more about that? Why are we creating useless and arguably hateful memes (that I will not link to) that mock the tortuous humiliation of others?
Social Media has become our gigantic water cooler, it is where we can discuss, question and share what affects us locally and globally. Pressing a button is an act.
Let’s not lose sight of what we can do with the help of each other with the ability of shedding light upon a cause such as Kony 2012. You have options besides donating money; you have choices of how you want to respond, and if it is worth sharing at all.
However, discounting the important role that Social Media can play within your choice, or undermining the ability of sharing what it is that moves you, is a mistake. The reality is, with Social Media, you never know who is listening, or watching and what they will do with the knowledge they learn from your action of sharing. It is the domino effect and you and I both know that change happens when others know about it; Social Media is our amplifier.
What Will You Do?
Erin Ryan is a writer for various blogs and a Social Media Promotional Director who has a keen understanding of the power of Social Media for business and fervently stays up-to-date with the Social Media Industry. Erin enjoys teaching and helping people and businesses on how to use and connect through Social Media. You can connect with Erin Ryan on Twitter.
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