I know I am not the only one that had their facebook newsfeed bombarded with posts and links to KONY 2012. It’s half hour video run by the Invisible Children organization exposing Joseph Kony the violent leader of the LRA that for years has been violently raging through African nations for about 2 decades now. His regime pillages villages killing, raping and abducting hundreds of thousands of people, he is notorious for forcing young children to serve as soldiers in his army and then forcing them to kill their own families, brutally mutilate village members and force young women and girls into prostitution. It is undeniable that the violence by the LRA is appalling and should be stopped- Invisible Children is running this campaign to make Kony “famous.” It’s all aimed to get enough people aware of his brutality in order to stop him.
My point about this video is that within minutes this video went viral across the internet. Social media facilitated massive and rapid dissemination of this piece. I think it is a prime example of how new internet tools are creating a revolution of rapid exchange of ideas. A video posted in north Africa within minutes is being watched by a student at their desk in Ithaca, NY. It is incredible. Obviously this emerging ability has great potential to facilitate change, expansion of knowledge and exchange of ideas.
But I think there are dangers of this ability to rapidly disseminate news. Is the assured credibility? Is there fact checking? Is it real? How will you ever know who started it? How can you affirm validity? A video can go viral so much faster than it can be fact checked. The day after the KONY2012 video went viral Huffington Post posted an article about the criticisms surrounding the video…the day after. That video already reached an audience way greater than this article will reach, because the video creators used Facebook. Millions of people use facebook everyday, the makers of the video were incredibly smart.
Is facebook the new news source? I’m not sure, but it is incredible the power of the internet and social media, that is for sure.