“The better world we want is coming” – have you ever heard a more hope-invoking message than that? I am, of course, talking about the KONY 2012-video that has, deservingly, gone viral. Which is no small feat, as it is 30 minutes long. In it, the organisation Invisible Children, tell story of how infamous warlord and #1 on the worlds most wanted war criminals list, Joseph Kony, have been killing, raping, kidnapping children and wreaking havoc in Uganda for nearly three decades. And now they’ve had enough and are working to stop it – making the whole world care in the process. If you haven’t seen it yet, take the time. I guarantee that you will not regret it. You might feel a bit sad after, but it will also leave you with tremendous hope for the future, that the new generations – us – now have the power to actually change the world.
I know this changing the world-stuff sounds cliché and stupid – I know – but it really is how it makes me feel. After decades of bleak hopelessness and never-ending wars and violence, here’s this sense that the Internet has come to change all that. Here’s the sense that it’s no longer about the technology, it’s about the human race finally being able to communicate to each other and then fixing our problems – caring about each other. And it is impossible not to care. It is impossible not to care after seeing that video, just like it was impossible not to care about the Arab spring while following people tweeting from right inside Tahrir Square. And when it gets impossible not to care, that’s when we take action and make a change. This is what I absolutely LOVE about the internet.
There’s been a lot of talk about the “new generation” not caring, being selfish, creating a crisis for charities when the older generations of donors fade out. I think cases like this, and like the founding of charities like Charity:Water, starkly disproves this. To me, this means that the younger generation care even more – they (we) are not satisfied with “just” supporting a cause – they want to make the change actually happen, and will take action themselves if they don’t see that happening.
Right. Done with the lofty idealism on behalf of the world. From a fundraising and charity-perspective, this video is an interesting case too. It is 30 minutes long and has gone viral! When was the last time you got potential donors/supporters to sit down and intently listen to your message for 30 minutes? Imagine what you could do if you had 30 minutes to tell your story to someone. Notice how the organisation behind is hardly even mentioned – all effort is on telling the story. It shows us that we can have 30 minutes of anyones time if we use the right storytelling techniques. It shows us that people will take action if you provide them with the right tools. Also it shows us that most of the traditional organisations still have a lot of work to do to get up to this level if we want to be part of the digital playingfield.
Now, go sign the pledge and make Kony known all over the world so we can get this bastard arrested!
Update: Seems Invisible Children is getting a bit of critisism for less than ideal solutions to the problems faced in Uganda. I don’t really know enough about the issues to say anything on that. But I think the sentiment of making a better world still goes. Attention on cruelty in the world is good no matter, I think.