Why I Doubt Kony 2012 and Why You Should Too

By Ivana Kosir

Junior Ivana Kosir

For at least two days now, teenagers all over social media sites have strongly expressed emotions toward the Kony 2012 campaign, and for good reason, too. While I also support the activism towards such campaigns, the method of distributing ideas and opinions carries virtually no value.

The purpose of the Kony video is to spread awareness of the issue, and in essence, stop the abuse in Uganda. In order to stop the terror, Invisible Children argues that the U.S. government is needed to deploy troops that will capture Joseph Kony. So what has that request resulted in? Conformity-prone and naive teenagers reblogging links on Facebook.

According to the Washington Times, most people who have viewed and shared the video are between the ages of 13 and 24.

I understand that Facebook is a place to share whatever desired, but my doubts about the whole issue stem from the unforecasted explosion of similar, if not exact, posts and comments. Are Facebook users actually passionate about this issue and truly want to spread the cause, or did they watch the movie as an excuse to not do their homework? Personally, I highly doubt that millions of teens in the Facebook world suddenly became so passionate about the Kony campaign.

With technology in this day in age, pictures, posts, and more all spread very quickly. Moreover, people tend to start sharing similar things. For instance, everyone’s favorite girl-in-a-bikini-standing-in-a-bathroom-mirror pictures popped up on everyone’s newsfeed at one point. Even more popular are ‘LMS’ or ‘Truth is” statuses. This unoriginal content becomes ubiquitous, and I would bet that many times people do this just because everyone else is. I strongly believe this is the case for the Kony campaign.

For argument’s sake, let’s say that every person who reposted anything regarding the Kony campaign was a strong advocate on child rights. If this were the case, although it is highly unlikely that it is, do people honestly believe that clicking ‘Like’ or anything of the sort is going to free the children? The best graphic I found on Facebook read “One does not simply destabilize a Ugandan warload by liking a status.”

Sure, liking, sharing, etc., may help spread awareness, but will it stop Kony? Despite popular belief, it takes much more effort than that.

It took Invisible Children nine years just to spread the kind of awareness that there is today. It took about the same amount of time for them to convince the U.S. government to do send troops to Uganda to find Kony. The Kony campaign’s mission is to find Kony by the end of 2012. Realistic? I think not. America had its full attention on finding Osama Bin Ladin, and it still took us 10 years to kill him. Even if we had all of the American troops in Uganda, it would still take over a year to find Kony, especially when you consider the geography of the region.

I will admit, the video produced was quite intriguing and convincing. Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that last year, nearly 47% of the $9 million revenue for Invisible Children went to advertising, awareness, and fundraising efforts, and only 37% went to direct services.

Again, I applaud the efforts of attempting to save the abducted children, but spreading awareness will not lead to anything significant, especially when done by uneducated teenagers on Facebook. Furthermore, the overreaction by some make the entire program appear weaker from an outsider’s perspective. If supporters want this campaign to succeed, they’ll have to step it up a notch.