Kony 2012 & the Dangers of Social Media, Part 1

David Quinn —  March 13, 2012 — 2 Comments
This entry is part 1 of 4 in the seriesThe Dangers of Social Media

During this time of year many Christians around the world begin to focus their thoughts and alter their daily practices while considering the days leading up to the death and resurrection of Christ. This is done by observing Lent. Last week, most of our attention was re-focused on another man whom a relatively small group of people intend to make famous. The man is Joseph Kony and the medium was our beloved social networks. They seem to have done a good job of making him infamous, which is probably the word that best describes him.

In the first few days, everyone began sharing the video with brief captions explaining why it was so important for all of us to watch and take action. In the following few days, people began to both criticize and defend against criticism; people began taking sides and advocating for all types of responses, well beyond what was suggested by the film’s narrator. The video quickly went from 1 million to 60 million views in only four days. As I post this almost one week later, it’s been watched about 74 million times.

We live in a time that allows for the spread of information and ideas in a way that was not even possible ten years ago. Internet based social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, allow us to keep track of our friends, enemies, acquaintances, musicians, and favorite brands. We show who we are or how we want to be known through what we “like.” A century ago it would have taken us a lifetime to gain the information we can now gather in a day. The newest inventions then were the telephone and the airplane. We had no idea how much they would change the way we live. We are beginning to see what kinds of things can be accomplished now that millions of people can be convinced to act on an idea within a matter of days. Just consider the recent Arab uprisings and the way they have totally altered a region of the world in a relatively short amount of time.

If you’re reading this and you are not familiar with Kony 2012, I want you to know that I am not going to use this post to explain it. You can easily find the video, news coverage, and other related blog posts by doing a quick google search. In a series of posts for the next few days, I’m only hoping to get a conversation started by raising a few key questions. I also won’t use the posts to defend the merits of the movement nor will I explore the valid criticisms. Instead, I want to focus the discussion on some ways that we can think through the implications of the video’s popularity and ways we may engage in local or international issues of injustice when we learn about them. In some cases, we may have to decide that it is better not to act, which can be one of the hardest things for us to accept.

Question #1: What was your immediate reaction to the video when you saw it? What did you think and do?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Series NavigationKony 2012 & the Dangers of Social Media, Part 2 >>

David Quinn

Posts Twitter Facebook

David is the Director of Institutional Assessment at Eternity Bible College. He started following Jesus when he was nine, grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and went to college with the plan of graduating and moving to a jungle somewhere. Instead, he started serving in high school ministry and worked for nine years at a Christian relief and development agency serving children in need. He gained experience traveling, teaching and learning from the global church in over fifteen countries, while developing strategic partnerships and evaluating the effectiveness of programs. He is passionate about organizing massive amounts of information and turning it into stories. David and his wife Anna live in Simi Valley and serve in various ministries at Cornerstone Church.
  • Dean Knudsen

    My first reaction was, why don’t confessing Christians show a fraction of the zeal for sharing the Gospel with a lost and dying world whom we know are headed for eternal destruction, as this one man has for these children/people? Very troubling! :/

    I truly believe God is looking for us to stand (peacefully) in unity against all unrighteousness not just in other countries, but in our very own. I think through unified prayer, fasting, funding and peaceful protest, abortion could’ve been stopped in our nation, and still could be. We as a nation who were once truly blessed by God, have taken the blessing and hoarded it and have become gluttons! We send table scraps (feeling good about ourselves) over sees because we fund building projects,staff and programs to entertain us instead of truly being good stewards and servants/slaves of Christ. We are missing it big time!! We are a people who have gone astray! This is what I believe the Lord is saying to the church today just as He was exhorting Israel back in the Old Testament. Jeremiah 4:1-2 1 “If you return, O Israel, declares the LORD, to Me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from My presence, and do not waver, 2 and if you swear, “As the LORD lives” in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then the nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him shall they glory.” The word “IF” is repeated throughout the scriptures, which suggests an action from the hearer. James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

    We must REPENT!! Blessings to you David and thanks for the sharpening!

  • Julie

    Well, I had already heard about Invisible Children and their efforts to stop Kony several years ago from Francis Chan. In an attempt to bring awareness to the situation out there, Cornerstone took a Sunday morning to share the matter with the congregation and then made Invisible Children CDs available to purchase and give away to friends, family, etc. So, as I watched the video, it brought back memories of what I already knew was taking place out there, and I was so discouraged that his man, Kony, was still at large hurting so many children and families after so many years. I was also disappointed in myself for not keeping up with my prayers for those children.

    Every family has only so much time and money, and so each of us must pray and consider where it is God would have us give to those in need. So, I went to the IC Kony website and signed the pledge, twittered a handful of public figures, bought the action kit, and started sharing the IC video with others like I had shared the IC CDs so many years before. Those kids and families are in my prayers again. Prayer and action was the appropriate response to the video for our family. My hope is that the awareness all of this brings to the public will put pressure on the President to keep the troops in there and finish the job they started: to help and train them to track down Kony, arrest him, and bring him to justice.