Boko Haram, Kony 2012 and Wikiawareness

There is no doubt that what is happening right now in Northern Nigeria is terrible.

But what is sad is how slacktivism have become a decease, where putting a random hashtag or changing your avatar had become the new bon chic, bon genre of self-rightfulness.

I see nothing wrong about people wanting to find more about a given subject because of something they have seen on social media, but what is more disastrous is seeing politicians entering in the game. When your name is Michelle Obama, posing your picture with a hashtag because you care seems weird at best, but a form of paternalism (or narcissism) at worse. It’s exactly like a parody of information welfare. Something which is done to look like  »close to the people », but which is reality leave people more skeptical and cynical. I think that social media is a great tool to interact with a public figure, but not looking genuine by doing it makes you look bad.

(Talking about examples of being genuine, I think it’s a treat when a public figure start his response to a tweet with a small letter, makes them looks like they are writing it on the go and it’s not some PR person doing it for them)

Exactly like the Kony 2012 campaign which nobody remembers, I fear that all these campaigns are great to capture our shorter and shorter attention spans especially in a society where we want everything to be right now. In the long run, like the Kony 2012 campaign, they have a limited effect. It’s indeed a difficult task to sell a geo-political concept like we sell a video game.

I am the first to say that this is a great thing that we live in a era where it’s incredible to have access to so much information at the palms of our hands, but patience is a value which is underestimated and undervalued in our era.

We should applaud that people use tools like Wikipedia to be informed on the go, but the problem is that Wiki-awarness sometimes is not enough to understand a complex situation. And as much as social media has great upsides, the danger with the  »meme culture » is that seeing too much of the same thing makes you sick.


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