Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Snowball Effect

There is a well known phenomenon that exists in today's society where information gets transmitted across the globe as fast as a bat outta hell (although one would think that the bat wouldn't want to get out of hell so quickly as they have been deemed rather ghoulish and halloweeny...maybe I should have found a different saying...anyways). This is called the Snowball Effect.

It begins as something of little significance (or maybe very significant but no one knows what it is) and it builds and builds upon itself until, lo and behold! Everyone knows about it.

I'm talking about the Kony 2012 incident.

I'm sorry, I mean The Kony2012 Movement, brought to you by Invisible Children, funded by homophobic churches.


But hey, I'm not here to complain about Invisible Children (even though they are suggesting that we give money and technology to an already corrupt Ugandan army to look for a guy who's half dead in the Congolese jungle and who hasn't been active in about 6 years).

I'm here to complain about the dozens of facebook/blog/twitter/reallol/9gag/tumblr posts about it. It's funny, because people didn't know shit all about Joseph Kony (I'll be honest, I didn't know about him until last year- 2011- when I was representing Uganda at my school's mock UN debate) and then all of a sudden they claim they care about making a guy famous that, frankly, they know nothing about. They don't know that he hasn't been seen in Uganda for more than 5 years, they don't know that he is currently hiding in the Congo and they don't know that he's going to die soon from malnutrition and the elements because he's got nothing left to go on with (aside from about 5 International Criminal Court warrants for his arrest for crimes against humanity).

Yes, Joseph Kony is a monster, yes, it's fantastic that everyone knows about him! I'm not complaining about that. 

What pisses me off is this:

Three weeks ago, the day before the Invisible Children video went viral, I saw two posts for Kony 2012 and an invite to "Cover the Night" which I respectfully declined.

I may be in social sciences, but I am not a political activist.

Two days later, my newsfeed was plastered with photos, memes (yes, there were asshole trollers making jokes about him) and SO MANY LINKS FOR THE VIDEO. And tons of little quotes like

"Help spread the word! By bringing a criminal to justice, we can help make a better tomorrow!"

And exactly how are we going to accomplish this?

So all I saw, all everyone was digest-posting about was Joseph Kony. Friends were going all "THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD CARE ABOUT" on me while others were simply apathetic.

And the best part?

Two days later, I didn't see a single post about Kony 2012. All of a sudden, my news feed was back to normal with Marianopolis Memes, girls posting pictures of themselves with their heads covered in pasta or out clubbing, guys sharing prog-rock music and people watching kittens barking again.

The next week at school, there wasn't a single rally, no table in the hallway in front of  Wayne's World advocating the capture of Joseph Kony, no donation fund jar, no bracelets for sale.

The snowball effect: something of little significance that builds upon itself until all of a sudden, everyone knows about it and everyone is talking about it.

A quick climax coupled with a swift drop.

How effective.


  1. girls cover their heads in pasta now? o.O.

    Good blog post. In the internet age, movements like these can be stale after one week. Everyone's on the Trayvon Martin story now, I wonder how long that will last?

  2. Apparently its the thing to do nowadays. That story is going to be around for a while but in a less crazy way because it exposes fundamental about our society and I think it will be referenced a lot more.