It’s the closest I’ve felt to tears over a bowl of muesli. Not because of the standard of ASDA’s budget cereal- it’s actually pretty good. Yesterday a friend sent me a link friend on Facebook. This probably happens about three or four times daily and they usually consist of something that will make me laugh. Of late there’s been videos of David Brent accidentally head-butting an interviewee on The Office, a montage of all thirty two goals Tony Yeboah scored for Leeds United between 1995 and 1997 and a couple of music videos for one hit wonders. Yesterday’s link was an invite to a postering event on April 20th, 2012. I didn’t pay much attention to it at first since I was in the midst of sending off a couple of concept sketches to clients. As the day went on, all I could see on Twitter and Facebook were conversations and debates about something called KONY 2012. So I loaded up the video and left it on a separate window in my internet browser, intending to watch it in the evening. I then became distracted, reading the book given to me as a birthday gift by my brother. This morning I got up a little late, feeling tired and since things have gone quiet as I await feedback on concept sketches, I thought I’d get a little extra rest. Sitting down at my desk, like Groundhog Day with my cereal and coffee, I thought I’d watch the video. Fuck me, it was by far the most moving bowl of cereal I have ever had. On many occasions in this book I have written about the potential for positive change that social media and modern technology offer. It allows divided and scattered people and communities to communicate, unite and find strength in numbers. Even a person who may consider them self without talent (nobody is) can reach thousands of people from the comfort of their home, or library or wherever else they may find access to these channels. I have seen many campaigns gather momentum and exposure from this South Manchester flat and I find it all very inspiring. A few years back, people used this to prevent the X-Factor Christmas tune from reaching number one and instead, Rage Against The Machine claimed it. Small fry in a world where there are millions of problems, but the bigger picture was the showcase of people power and it’s impact when given a platform.
The information is out there for you to read for yourselves so I’ll be brief. Joseph Kony is a rebel force leader in Uganda. For thirty years he has been turning kids into child soldiers, mutilating many and raping others. Heavy stuff, the child who is the focus of the film saw his younger brother killed after attempting an escape, heart rending footage that really opened my eyes to how fortunate I am in my circumstances. A film-maker in the US travelled out there and after seeing the camps, made a documentary. Along with the film, he has started a campaign to make Joseph Kony famous, to raise enough awareness and public support in order to force the governments, particularly the US government to lend it’s support in capturing Joseph Kony. On April 20th 2012, a worldwide campaign to cover major cities across the world in KONY 2012 posters, to raise awareness of the magnitude of the issue will happen. Through the same channels I have read much criticism and concerns over the charity’s (Invisible Children) use of the funds donated among others. I do not know enough to comment but as I sit at my desk this morning, like every other morning, I feel more relevant and powerful than ever before. If a documentary film can go viral to this extreme, causing arguments among friends and people to respond in all manner of ways, imagine the log term implications. Social media has changed everything, literally a revolution stemming from the comfort of our homes. It doesn’t change the fact that I am sat here dressed like a clown in a range of horribly clashing jumpers until the flat warms up or the fact I am going through a quiet spell on the business front, but it does mean I have the power to make a difference. I always knew that in my profession, visual communication, that power has always been there. But this is the single biggest exclamation point I have seen placed on the matter so far and it has me all excited. For every corporate job I turn around to pay the bills, I can use the money to support myself whilst I think where my skills could be best used for greater good and set about reaching the right people. What makes it even more satisfying is that thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, I can sweep the floor, do the laundry and get a shave whilst I do it.