Monday, March 12, 2012

Kony 2012: A lesson in thought

This morning I almost washed my face with the liquid soap I use to clean my basin.

Thank god it has a distinct smell or I might have. I keep reminding myself to move it but I never do. I don't think I ever will and one day, I really will wash my face with it. (Oh the horror)

If you're concerned that I'll spend a whole post ranting on about liquid soap, I'll put your mind to rest now.

For those of you who subscribe to my Facebook profile, you will have noticed that I've been quite agitated by the whole "Stop Kony 2012" initiative started by Invisible Children. I'll state upfront that I do not support the cause or the charity, I do not condone the use of social media as a tool to shape public opinion - especially when that opinion is not well informed. But it did start me thinking...
The biggest challenge you will face in all your online experiences is learning to think critically about everything you see, watch and read. Kony 2012 should be a lesson in that. Treat the news the same way you would an invitation for lunch from a stranger - always with a healthy dose of scepticism and the desire to want to know more before you accept it.
A few months ago I made the change over to a public profile on Facebook and allowed subscribers. It was more of a change than I had bargained for because my social media became a space that I had to think very carefully about, not just a random space for me to churn out whatever I thought was interesting or funny. I learnt how to refine my posts and how to think critically about what I was sharing.
Everything is now something a potential employer could see. 
I don't think this ability to think critically should be limited to people who have chosen the public route for social media. The internet is filled with so much complete and utter crap content that it's hard to make sense of it all. Most of the time, we do a good job of separating material but somehow this filter fails when it comes to something controversial. I'm guilty of it too - I hear something particularly interesting and my first thought is to share it on every platform I have. This is dangerous because then we risk propagating ideas and images that are false.

Use Kony 2012 as a lesson. Watch the video. And then spend half an hour reading more about Joseph Kony. FIND OUT WHERE UGANDA ACTUALLY IS. Read some history, read Ugandan opinions, read news articles, anything.. And then, if you still feel that sharing the video is your best option, do it. I can respect that. Think critically.

That's all for today guys, I shall write again soon. I promise to stop the gloom and doom.


PS. I've also decided to take a picture of myself every day.. The idea is to post something online every day - a thought and a picture.

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which  they seldom use. "
The internet gives you the space to say whatever you want to, think carefully about what it is you're saying... 

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