A 30-minute documentary on the Lord’s Resistance Army, a violent militia in Uganda led by the outlaw Joseph Kony, has gone viral.
A day after it was published on YouTube, it had logged 32 million views. In contrast, the Dr. Suess movie The Lorax, which by Hollywood standards had “huge opening weekend,” was probably seen by about 6 million people.
How the video and the associated campaign KONY 2012 influences policies toward providing assistance to African nations to hunt down the group and its leader and bring them to justice remains to be seen. The group behind the video has attracted as much attention and controversy as it has generated.
Welcome to the world of Wiki at War, where social networking tools like YouTube and Twitter are used as weapons of mass disruption for driving public opinion.
The fate of Kony and his pursuers aside, the incident is another reminder that social networking can be a powerful force to influence everything from the boardroom to the battlefield. When it comes to dealing with the Internet, our government needs to be cyber serious. Recently, Congress was embarrassed when it rushed to push through legislation when it was clear that even proponents of the bill didn’t clearly understand its implications. Many Members are “gun shy” about taking on Internet issues again.
Congress needs to be deliberate and prudent. There are some steps that can be taken. Congress needs to be careful that they are the right ones.