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#stopkony and the rise of the digital lynch mob

March 2012 Emergination in Action

Cause Oriented Marketing harnessed through social media

Joseph Tony is a marked figure in Uganda, accused of stealing children from their homes, raping the girl's whilst getting the boys to kill the weaker boys - all the while training them as soldiers in his rogue gorilla army. This has been documented in a 27 minute powerful movie shown over 50 million times collectively on Youtube and Vimeo.

Joseph Kony's activities make a truly shocking true story - not new as this has been happening for many years. It is another case of extreme power being allowed to fester without authority doing anything about it.

The power of social media has been harnessed to a cause - at least temporarily. I am all for it for several reasons - it encourages an insular world to look outside its own borders and take action, it puts pressure on those that have the capacity to act and don't, and provides a welcome break from reality TV to a real dose of reality.

The #stopkony campaign has been well considered and executed. It is a mini movie designed to be build a compelling case of the problem and the simple action states that need to be taken towards a solution.

In essence the problem is that unrest in Uganda - which is not a trade partner of any major country - isn't on the agenda of the major superpowers. As a result, none of them are doing anything about it. The Ugandan army, the logical group that you would think would do something about these activities, have also been accused of civil rights abuses.

So the pressure is being mounted on the US government through this campaign to be the ones to act.

Herein lies some of the issues:
  • The US is not the designated police force of the world. And thank goodness - if you have seen that appalling show Cops on Ten1, you will understand why very few of their Police would quality for a gig here. 
  • They have no legal right to interfere in domestic affairs of a foreign country. And for the #stopkony campaign leaders this is part of their argument - they have been doing so for many years with countries considered of national interest to the US, why not just one more?
The #stopkony campaign also has plenty of critics::
  • Is it appropriate to incite crowds to demonstrate?
  • Is it appropriate to stick up posters in cities and deface public property in the name of this cause? 
  • Will there be a backlash if people break the law in the name of social justice?
  • Is this the social media equivalent of a mob with pitchforks exerting their own justice - acting without all the facts?
  • Is this just slacktivism - a couple of clicks and a buy the #stopkony pack and I've done my bit for the world?
How would we feel if a similar movement was started in the Chinese equivalent social networks such as with 120 million users and  with 75million  - collectively about half of that of Facebook. And then the Chinese government took action - particularly if there was an undertone of a government seeking votes in an election year? If China were to do so it could be potentially seen as a terrific step forward given a fairly poor international perception towards their stance on human rights. It also could be seen to be quite a threat in international affairs.

What about Indonesia who has 230 million people - the second largest market for Facebook and third for Twitter?

Interesting questions - but what does this mean for governments, businesses and organisations-particularly in Western Australia.

It is a very very short bow to draw a connection between:
  • Labour government - clearly seeking to redistribute wealth generated from the mining boom to subsidise industries, people and states and have nothing to do with it.
  • Greenpeace-openly hostile and declaring war on the coal industry in particular - a popular brand, and a better and closer voice to the younger generation.
  • Add the Greens 
  • Stir in some social media activism
Net result? I'll let you draw your own conclusions...

Everyone loves a viral campaign. There is nothing quite like the value of the pass on factor of “hey look at this” (me too, so please Tell A Friend). Crowd mobilisation is the new trend. Technology is helping to reshape and change governments and will continue to have a greater impact on business and organisations in the coming years.

At the end of the day we are witnessing a revolution in media consumption, mass communication and what it means to belong.

If you want to know more about Social Media, you can attend the Social Enterprise Conference at Cebit 2012 that I will be chairing. Please let me know if you are interested in attending.

Emergination also provides briefings to organisations on technology and how it will affect their organisation, as well as developing strategies to apply emerging technologies for competitive advantage.

I hope you've found this newsletter useful! Until next time, keep fit!

Kind regards,

Justin Davies & the Emergination Team
Level 1
182 St Georges Tce
Perth, Western Australia 6000

PS Quotable quote: 

A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example. Niccolo Machiavelli

More Goodies:
Find out about Pressroom - and create Social Media Optimised press releases that achieve outstanding SEO results
Listen to Justin Davies discussing Cloud Computing and SaaS Solutions with International Business Speaker, Tom Murrell
Check out recent presentations from Justin Davies at Slideshare
Listen to the Cloud Computing podcast, with Dr Michael Harries, CTO of Citrix Labs Australia being interviewed by Justin Davies

Listen to Justin Davies being interviewed by Tom Murrell on marketing innovation at the
The Smell of Good Business blog
Past newsletter topics:
March 2011 - Pressroom - a new way to leverage your PR efforts

Contact Details:
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