A cacophony of voices [5]

As someone who believes that the ability to create and share media is an important form of power, the Invisible Children story presents a difficult paradox. If we want people to pay attention to the issues we care about, do we need to oversimplify them? And if we do, do our simplistic framings do more unintentional harm than intentional good? Or is the wave of pushback against this campaign from Invisible Children evidence that we’re learning to read and write complex narratives online, and that a college student with doubts about a campaign’s value and validity can find an audience? Will Invisible Children’s campaign continue unchanged, or will it engage with critics and design a more complex and nuanced response[?]

Kony 2012 is a distraction from issues ordinary Ugandans care about. […] Let’s not amplify and reproduce another narrative of Africa in crisis when Ugandans themselves are moving on.

[Anywar Ricky Richard, a former child soldier of the LRS and director of the northern Ugandan organisation Friends of Orphans, states:] I totally disagree with their approach of military action as a means to end this conflict.

[Finkelstein asks Zuckerman:] Is it just that this topic is near and dear to you, from your experience in Africa? Again, that’s fine, we all have our personal touchstones. But it seems little late to be discovering that the Internet is really good at spreading appealing stories without regard to truth, and manipulators with money can exploit this for their agendas.

– Storytelling-Based Activism

– Youth As Political Agents

– Transmedia Mobilization

– Spreadability and Drillability

The last thing we need to do is induce embarrassment and shame in others for their enthusiasm.  Rather, let’s look at what K-12 has innovated and what type of remedy is still recoverable within its poisons. […] K-12 is essentially a global distributed manhunt, a nascent dystopic experiment reminiscent of Running Man and Logan’s Run, but now updated for a Hunger Games generation in which spectatorship turns into participation and intervention. […] Another innovation in K-12 is in the video form itself, especially the anomalous “introduction”, which I think of as a preparatory inductive technique. Regardless of the content of the rest of the video, the preface […] furnishes instructions on how to use the video. […] Rather than giving people a way to shape the movement’s objectives (endemic to OWS), K-12 essentially recruits free laborers for its specific cause.

Of course we were curious about the volume and spread of the message from a data perspective. How and why did the message spread so fast and was it truly out of nowhere? What we found may surprise you:

– Having pre-existing networks in place helped the initial spread of their message.

– Attention philanthropy tactics activated celebrity accounts and drew substantial visibility.

I’m especially intrigued by Gilad’s note [above] on the role of religious youth in all of this. Gilad has only begun looking at the data so he doesn’t have a good scope on all of what’s happening, but I’m not surprised by the presence of religious language in the accounts of those who tweeted this message. I very much suspect that a lot of what made this pop has to do with strong pre-existing Christian networks. I’m always surprised at how often people in the tech community regularly underestimate the power of religious networks. Architecturally, this is a brilliant campaign. It’s really too bad that the message is so deeply flawed. […] I can’t help but wonder… with the rise of attention philanthropy, are we going to see a new type of attention colonialism?


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