In March this year, Kony 2012 became the fastest spreading online film ever -- but our research team at USC's Annenberg School has been interviewing and observing Invisible Children for three years, long before the flurry of attention around the video.
The #KONY2012 movement is welcomed for the attention it has brought to Uganda, but in reality the man and his actions are symptoms of much broader problems that must be addressed to prevent future Joseph Konys.
The apparent disconnect between Invisible Children's White House-enabled public relations push and on-the-ground sentiment of Ugandans whose needs IC purports to champion can be in part explained by a little-known fact -- Invisible Children is a ministry, tied closely to the evangelical right.
Invisible Children's faith, infused with prophetic imagination, not only causes the organization to live towards a different story, but has clearly invited others to join in living just such a better story.
We sometimes forget that we can support a person or a group and synchronously criticize certain actions, thoughts, or words. I support Invisible Children and simultaneously feel free to criticize certain tactics, campaigns, or actions.
Social media is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for social justice advocates through its capability to help shape the national discourse surrounding issues, as two recent examples from two very different spheres of the web prove.
To restore its waning credibility, Invisible Children should immediately cut ties with the dictator and the corrupted Fellowship. As long as Invisible Children is linked to human rights violators, its claims to be humanitarian will be suspect.
Will Joseph Kony ever be transformed from a household name into a convicted mass-murderer, or will the quest to stop the innocent killing in Uganda die out as a mere fad, a PR ploy gone terribly wrong?