Sunday, March 11, 2012

Of Cause celebs, #KONY 2012 to #ZUKA and beyond

It goes without saying that I personally have been left rather bemused confused but not dumbfounded,as this post will attempt to show, at the phenom that is KONY 2012. I have been aware of Invisible Children, the charity behind this campaign to get KONY, for some time now.Mainly through endorsements by musicians, a strategy that has paid off handsomely this time round. This association with celebrity has made their cause, cool and is it happening. If anything this campaign has demonstrated the media savvy of this group but it has raised in my mind more questions than answers. For, instance why now? Students of American foreign policy are quick to point to the new found oil riches of Uganda and the scramble for these between China and the US. It is a compelling argument, given that Invisible Children are calling for US military action. These folks will do well to read up on Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands . Be that as it may, KONY must be stopped that's cool. Is it possible that so many can possibly miss the point so spectacularly?

More relevant to this blog is the relationship between traditional media, and so called new media, Web 2.0,twitter,Facebook,blogs e.t.c. If anything it will be interesting how this episode plays out. The success of KONY 2012 owes much to the failure of traditional media say, TV, radio and film to place this issue on the global agenda and keep it there. However this campaign has also relied heavily on traditional media to manipulate this agenda. You only have to look at the celebrities and opinion leaders such as P Diddy, Rihanna, George Clooney to name but a few who have used their high profile to bring this issue to every one's attention. They have tweeted the video link to their followers and have largely eschewed press conferences and live aid music concerts  the tried and true way of raising awareness about Africa favoured by celebrities. Still at the heart of this is a well made film that has captured if not hearts and minds but twitter accounts, Facebook profiles and blog posts.

It seems its too soon to call time on traditional media and if anything this episode is showing how old and new are working to frame and set the global agenda.

 PS:This brings me to #ZUKA, been tweeting for a while but this is the first hash tag I have helped create, so feel free to join the discussion, celebs invited too.

Oh! don't forget to check the video out

And this too... and visit

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