Remember KONY 2012?? Me Neither

I watched the compelling 30 minute documentary and was blown away by the effective and powerful message the filmmakers managed to convey for the non-profit Invisible Children.  I deliberated for a few moments, and then thought this is important.  I clicked the share button on Facebook and joined the barrage of Facebook users who also felt compelled to hop on the bandwagon and share the video.  

Kony was a household name for a couple of months.  It trended globally on twitter, got 40 million views on Youtube and millions more on Vimeo, just in the short span of a month.  As of this post, it has 99,824,218 views.  I think this speaks to the kind of political activism that millennials  carry out.  Our generation, more than any previous one, has found a way to tap the power of collective action on social media to create change.

(And the same thing can be said about other social media hypes like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.)

Social media usage, for me, is the defining and distinctive characteristic of the millennial generation.  Other generations clearly use technology, however our generation stands alone for the myriad of ways we imbue technology into our daily lives.  It’s too typical to have an email tab, a facebook tab, twitter tab, maybe a reddit tab open in my web browser before I get down to business and start my homework (the tabs stay open, and are mostly ignored).

However I have to fault my generation for this very same quality:  we are definitely individuals born in an era of instant gratification.  We need constant reminders about the latest happenings in the world, or important things like Ebola, ISIS, or the Hong Kong political protests would simply fall from our attention.  A great indicator of this phenomena is to look at trending hashtags on twitter.  You can look at the spike in popularity as the hashtag picks up momentum, and the dramatic fall from use when the sensation has passed.

The same thing can be said, unfortunately, of KONY 2012.  We collectively forgot about KONY.  We didn’t check where all the money was going or how it was being used.  We did our part; we were facilitators of global change by clicking on a link; we washed our hands of any further obligation, curiosity, or responsibility to see what actually happened.  (Except for when the filmmaker “went on a naked, expletive-laden rampage on the streets of San Diego”….that happened.)  As far as I can tell, Kony is still alive and doing horrible things to innocents.

But I definitely shared that youtube video two years ago, so I did my part. Thanks social media.

I scored an 86 on the quiz.  I think that’s okay.  I am definitely a participant in the technology so emblematic of my generation.  I typically lean to the left, don’t have a strong religious background, and I come from a non-traditional family.  I am excited to see the ways that millennials further incorporate technology, and specifically, specifically social media, for more mainstream and widespread uses.


2 thoughts on “Remember KONY 2012?? Me Neither”

  1. Liz, really enjoyed reading this blog. It really got me to think of how we millennials use technology as a tool. You successfully convey how we have raised awareness to such phenomenons like Kony and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Despite forgetting about Kony, I think we need to be reminded to follow up on what the tool of technology can produce. Continuing to raise awareness by using technology as the vehicle can provide significant value, as long as we do not forget about the causes after showing concern only once.


  2. From the Arab Spring protests to the youth movements in Europe against government spending cuts to Occupy, there have been waves of activism powered by educated youth wired by mobile technology and ubiquitous networks. Activism has certainly shifted, and we don’t know yet how powerful it can be or how it might change people and societies.

    Maybe this generation will use these networks to become a more truly international or trans-national demographic force?


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