Are you one of the 50 million people who's watched the Kony 2012 video from the nonprofit organization Invisible Children that was just released this week? If not, I'd strongly suggest that you take the time to do so.
Some people might remember that back in October 2011 when President Obama sent troops to help officials in Central Africa stop Kony and the LRA, I went searching for information and found it via Invisible Children. Now this group has upped the ante and is creating quite a storm.
Of course, with that kind of attention comes critiques, some perhaps justified but others motivated by a desire to question any change in the status quo. The ones I find most compelling are about the level of sophistication in both the analysis of the situation in Central Africa and their partnership with other organizations on the ground.
But those are related to content and what I am more fascinated with is the process. What the video above details is the work these young people have been doing over the last 5 years. With its release this week, too many folks are focusing on how Invisible Children got it to go so incredibly viral in just a few days. What the video itself articulates is that they've been building their network for this for a long time. Yes, they've very effectively used new social media tools, but its their face-to-face ground game that has slowly but surely set up the platform.
For example, by about the 17 minute mark in the video, they've defined the problem and talked about building a community to "make the invisible visible." People are getting engaged and making a difference. And THEN they go to Washington to get support. It was those efforts that not only engaged Congress, but resulted in President Obama making the decision to send troops.
This is not a leaderless group with an amorphous platform. They have one clear goal in mind for right now...bring Kony to justice. And they have very specific things you can do to join them in reaching that goal. Its also clear that when that one is accomplished, they're prepared to take this process and grow it into something that can tackle other problems. It all reminds me of a process for change we witnessed not too long ago in this country.
I couldn't help but think as I watched this video...when Obama says "make me do it," this is EXACTLY what our "Community Organizer-in-Chief" has in mind.