Unpacking Kony 2012

My goal, in this (long) blogpost is to get a better understanding of how Invisible Children has harnessed social media to promote their cause, what the strengths and limits of that approach are, and what some unintended consequences of this campaign might be. For me, the Kony 2012 campaign is a story about simplification and framing. Whether you ultimately support Invisible Children???s campaign ??? and I do not ??? it???s important to think through why it has been so successful in attracting attention online and the limits to the methods used by Invisible Children.

Kony 2012 – is the US military the answer?

The viral campaign that is circulating the internet on Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony is well-meaning but extremely problematic. KONY 2012 fever has also hit New Zealand, with events springing up all over the nation. To put it simply: if you are going to agitate for reform in another country, you better darn well be open to hearing criticisms and incorporating these into your arguments. It is not critiquing that Kony is a bad guy, it is making sure that people are not having the wrong effects on the Ugandan people in their support of the campaign.

Source of the famous ???Now you have two problems??? quote

As I mentioned in my previous post, my book was just reviewed on Slashdot. One thing that struck me in reading all the resulting comments was the (several different copies of an) apparently famous quote that goes something like:

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think
“I know, I’ll use regular expressions.”   Now they have two problems.

It’s apparently quite well known, so it floors me that this is the first I’ve seen it.

Heard it here first

Urban Dictionary: Brony


A name typically given to the male viewers/fans (whether they are straight, gay, bisexual, etc.) of the My Little Pony show or franchise. They typically do not give in to the hype that males aren’t allowed to enjoy things that may be intended for females.

Every nerd has a favorite TV show they watch religiously and know inside and out. But My Little Pony seems like an unlikely object of fanboy love. Since the show debuted last fall on cable channel Hub TV, it???s attracted a growing number of male fanatics. Their love of the show is internet neo-sincerity at its best: In addition to watching the show, these teenage, twenty- and thirtysomething guys are creating pony art, posting fan videos on YouTube and feeding threads on 4chan (and their own chan, Ponychan).

“internet neo-sincerity,” something to watch.