I am a social constructivist although it has been suggested that I am more a social constructionist and despite not really getting my head around the works of Vivien Burr and others I did not wish to be left titleless so until a nice tidy comparison chart comes along I will speak from the ground of the greater understood. I say this because it frames my thinking and the following conversation.
What the heck just happened?
We seem so very willing to nod our heads in agreement when our corporate-influenced institutional leaders lead us through carefully crafted Trueman Show-like existences and stare away as these same groups continually parrot those things that they believe will sooth us into silent acquiescence and yet when an interesting concept and venture into global connectivity, action and reach comes along, we beat the crap out of it for a million reasons: all good, bad and indifferent. I have been asked if it is a hoax – I really have no idea However I exercised a degree of personal due diligence and came to the conclusion that warts and all the idea had an underlying worth and therefore I supported it.
In the last 48 hours the Kony2012 campaign has been embraced and championed while at the same time it has been dissected and dismembered by the same global audience that it was hoping to reach. Sounds to me like a fabulous peer review process except a peer review is meant to provide sufficient critique to permit the final product to be richer in such a way as to go forth and stand on its own having withstood the rigour of the process. I really wonder how this very public process will impact the long term intent of the Kony2012 idea.
Of course we can pick away and find all kinds of faults and issues and pieces of the whole that were maybe less well thought out and that there are real sociopolitical concerns that push sensitivities around culture and first-world arrogance and yes I have read enough of the articles to keep this list going for some time BUT. Yes there is a but – why can’t we slow down for a moment and find the elements in this whole piece that have merit. Let us not lose a potential global understanding around the social interconnectedness that does exist in this networked world and how it can be used and built upon for some really good purposes. Let’s face it – these folks are right – nobody gave a damn about Kony for over 20 years and he continued to do horrible things to thousands of children and at most a few people outside of central Africa might have talked about him and he eventually got himself recognized by the ICC in The Hague. What do we do? Stay at home and continue to watch the Simpsons and hope the issue never sullies our coffee chatter? Well done Kony2012. I do not see this issue encouraging anyone being the world’s policeman (we have enough of those) but we are all interconnected in our worldly efforts and I cannot believe that the people of Central Africa have allowed Kony to continue to do what he has done because they were more interested in sitting in a coffee bar and ignoring the issue. Why can’t somebody speak up and find a novel way to address these atrocities whether they are Ugandan of not and unless the people of Central Africa are saying we love this guy – stay out of our business – which I don’t hear – then let the conversation move forward.
Let us dissect the Kony2012 campaign but let us not kill it without really looking at all of the issues. The public push-back shows that there are many facets to this discussion and that this issue is far from a simple “Kill Bill” scenario. Let us show some global maturity and with respect, recognize that just maybe this use of technology to spread a message has merit if for no other reason than to build a global peer review process.
Don’t shut the dialog down – be respectful – and let us learn how to do this better.