The Invisible Children/Kony Story: From Trending To Rebuttal In 24 Hours

Talk about a fast moving story!

Yesterday morning Invisible Children and Kony began trending wide and hard in social media. It showed up first thing in the morning on my facebook feed – cross posted by many different people, not all of whom know each other.

By early afternoon Blake Hounshell of Foreign Policy was wondering what the deal was on my twitter stream, even as Lydia Polgreen of the New York Times was already posting links to stories that were taking the enterprise apart.

Lydia Polgreen's tweet on #stopkony references the Three Cups of Tea scandal.

By this morning, the criticisms of Invisible Children’s efforts to bring LRA leader Joseph Kony to justice were mounting. Lack of transparency, bad program-to-administration cost ratios, simplification of a complex conflict,  less than current facts….And then Ms. Polgreen’s twitter feed brought up another issue – of privilege, the donor-as-savior, and lest we forget, the shadow scandals like Three Cups of Tea scandal cast over non-profit fundraising.

Then, even as I thought, “wow these folks better get it together,” Invisible Children put out a rebuttal. Which I might not have noticed at all, were it not for the fact that Andy Carvin of NPR noticed and tweeted it.

All that in 24 hours. It makes my head spin. It makes me think, “You can’t possibly do this social media thing – grow up and get a real job that lets you turn off the computer and the brain at quittin’ time!” Goodness knows my friends and family would appreciate that turn of events, should it ever happen.

But you have to admit, the story has probably attracted more attention to the aftermath of the Ugandan conflict than any story by a reporter has in quite a while, and might hopefully hasten the justice the monstrous Kony so richly deserves. And that is a very good thing.

 

Comments

  1. Only a good thing if by “justice” you mean US military involvement in Uganda alongside the brutal Ugandan army as the US expands its power base in East Africa near the newly discovered oil deposits. This is a scam – please read up on the actors and the real situation in Uganda before you give this terribly manipulative organization a pass:

    http://stopthescam.tumblr.com/

    • Hi Joe – Thanks very much for the comment. To be clear, I’m not giving anyone a pass here. But it’s safe to say that many more people probably read up on Uganda in the last 48 hours than would have otherwise. That’s my larger point.

      Also, it’s not a good thing for any organization to have to issue a rebuttal a day after it suddenly hits everyone’s social media feed. So if it’s a scam, nothing like sunlight.

      Sohini.

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