My 15-year-old daughter came into my home office on returning from school today. "Mum, have you heard about Kony 2012 and the Invisible Children?"
"No sweetheart, I haven't - what is it?"
"Call yourself a social media expert? You'd better look on Facebook & Twitter"
Intrigued, I extracted myself from writing about how lawyers can use LinkedIn (boring by comparison) and went onto Facebook & YouTube to find out.
What I discovered filled me with a long forgotten passionate fervour and moved me literally to tears. I haven't quite felt this way since I nearly got arrested on a gay rights political sit-in at University. And I want to tell everyone I know to watch the YouTube clip and take action.
Jason Russell is a political activist and filmmaker who has been working for several years in Uganda to help stop the Lord's Resistance Army and their rebel leader Joseph Kony. He has had tremendous success already by persuading Barack Obama to deploy some forces to help the Ugandan Army fight the rebels.
In a nutshell, Kony is number one war criminal in the world & his LRA kidnap children to fight for him & encourage them to rape & kill civilians. I had never heard of him until today, and I consider myself to be reasonably well informed.
Russell had the idea to use social media to raise awareness of Kony so that the governments of the world will listen and stop him.
On Wednesday evening as I write this, The 27-minute video, posted only on Monday on YouTube, has had nearly 9 million hits. And 8 million on Vimeo. It's gone viral, and this virus could change the world for the better.
My Facebook feed tonight is FULL of people sharing this. It's exciting and feels like I'm part of something huge. I was always jealous I had missed the mood of the late 60s, The Summer of Love, where people felt they had real power to effect change in the world and make a difference.
I have felt we've lost that sense of people power in recent decades: Until now. Facebook has a global reach of 850 million people. This is an online community with the ability to raise awareness on a scale that is unprecedented.
As Russell says on the video: "The people of the world see each other and can protect each other......it changes everything"
Russell explains that prior to social media, it was only people with money and influence over those in government that could make changes happen. With Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, we have an enormous voice, to share what's happening and shout loudly so that governments listen.
Watch the video. It urges us to take action on a certain day - April 20th - to put up posters globally so that the world knows the name of Joseph Kony and shout loud enough so that we will be rid of him.
I've bought the posters and kit for my girls and myself. We will be out there. Making a difference. Raising awareness. Feeling like we are changing the world, maybe we will be. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Oh, And my daughter for making me look at Facebook sooner.
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