Social Media in the Time of Social Conscience
I've been wanting to write a post for some time now about how the internet and the advent of social networking sites have created an entirely new way to gain support for social causes. We live in a day and age where you can find a website that advocates for the issues you care about, and sign up to receive regular emails about new issues and ways that you can help. These include sites such as www.momsrising.org, Moveon.org, committeeforjustice.org, heritagefoundation.org, etc.
One recent example of this phenomena, is the media frenzy following the announcement that the Susan G. Komen Foundation had decided to de-fund Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings. Facebook, twitter, blogs, and other news sources blew up with people voicing their disdain about the decision. As a result, the foundation actually reversed their decision. This is only of the more prominent recent outcries.
This video, Kony 2012, is one that recently went viral. It is a 30 minute long video detailing the atrocities of Joseph Kony, the self-declared leader of the Lord's Resistance Army. He kidnaps children and forces them to become child soldiers and sex slaves. His soldiers are trained to maim and kill sometimes even their own parents. Kony has no agenda, and only continues with his blood spilling in order to maintain his own power.
I blogged about U.S. Troops being sent to Africa to help combat the Lord's Resistance Army, and its leader Joseph Kony. At that time, the story was one that appeared in the bottom corner of news sites, along with the other non-mainstream stories. That was 139 days ago.
Kony has altered his tactics since then, and is somewhere in hiding. The video was developed in order to rally support for Kony's capture and arrest. The maker of the film is hoping that people will use their social networking connections to share the video and create further awareness, and thus support, for the cause.
On a more personal note, the first protest I ever attended as a freshman in high school, before I had any real awareness of political causes or how international relations worked, was arranged by our class president to help stop the use of child soldiers. I can't remember if it was just the two of us or a third person ended up coming along. We, along with hundreds of other high school students, marched to San Francisco City Hall, and chanted the various slogans, forwarding the common goal of saving these children, and others like them, from the evil men who literally dictate their futures.
One of the excuses for The Holocaust having happened was that other countries simply did not know what was happening. In this new media age, if anything, our generation can only complain of information overload. I hope that Kony 2012 is a success.
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