by Mai Sabour.
Before a few weeks ago, Walla Hassan had never heard about Joseph Kony, the violent Ugandan war lord. Like 100 of millions of others around the world, she learned about Kony via social media. “I heard about [him] by Facebook,” says 21-year-old Hassan.
Like so many others, Hassan saw the video about the leader of the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army that swept the internet on March 8. Created by Jason Russell, co-founder of a group called Invisible Children, the 30-minute documentary, calling for Kony’s arrest, became an international sensation overnight.
Welcome to world of viral media, which experts believe may eventually become the most common way of consuming the news.
According to Alicia Evans, who teaches Social Media Strategies, the rapid expansion of Facebook, Twitter and other outlets, helped KONY2012 go viral, especially among young people. “More people, regular people, are reporting and becoming THE NEWS,” she says. “Social media has the power to make an item go viral whether, true or not.”
CCNY student Lina Kheir, 19, warned that everyone should think critically about the information they see via social networks. “Kony2012 succeeded in making people question the media they consume,” she says.