The #Kony2012 campaign was released by Invisible Children in early March of 2012. #Kony2012 was a strategically thought out operation using various forms of promotions and persuasive actions. The campaign used a combination of many visuals such as images, logos, text, and videos in attempt to rewrite present-day strategies for engendering activism through social media, also known as, clicktivism. This post looks at two different articles that support our claim that clicktivism is only the beginning and more needs to be done for real change to occur.
While there were cons of #Kony2012, there were some pros that highlighted the initial benefits clicktivism can have on a campaign. An article on nj.com, “Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign has pros, but also cons” by Carly Rothman, discusses some of these pros. Rothman went into detail about the key goals of KONY2012 being that it was an operation to put pressure on the American government to keep a small U.S. military presence on the ground Uganda to advise local leaders. The campaign was centered on a social media strategy built upon a viral video “that lays out the programs roots and visions”. This is a prime example exemplifying the benefits that social networking can bring to a situation. Within days of this video being launched it received nearly ten million views and celebrity endorsements from people like Justin Bieber and Oprah. The #Kony2012 campaign successfully showed the potential benefits clicktivism can have on an issue. The positive of all of this is the simple fact that spreading ideas is a good way to initiate the conversation of change but not necessarily create a tangible change itself.
Cons that have been made up over #Kony2012 include their corporate structure, their investment in the Ugandan army and their sanguinary mission to bring Joseph Kony to justice. #Kony2012’s investment in the Ugandan army was very troublesome. The accounts that they made that took over YouTube and Twitter were very troublesome as well. They created a culture of looting, exploitation and rape occurring on the frontlines of the army’s activities, both in their expeditionary work in the Central African Republic and their supposed protective work of the internally displaced refugee camps in Northern Uganda (Currie). This was discussed in an article on uniter.ca titled, “The Pros and Cons of KONY 2012” by Steve Currie in 2012. The issue in organizational structure this article discussed tends to be the demise of many clicktivism campaigns. There is no hierarchy of power in the social media world which is one major reason these campaigns don’t lead into tangible change in the world. The lack of hierarchical power prevents tangible change because there is no clear organization and relentless push for change. The combination of these two articles depicted how social media can create a rise in awareness of an issue but struggle to do anything of it rather accurately. It is possible that in the future of clicktivism we will see a rise in leadership or figure heads attached to these campaigns for it to begin supporting real activism.