Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Political Viral Videos: Fluff or Fury?

There are millions of online videos beaming through our computer screens on a daily basis.  When it comes to political viral videos they are few and far between the mash-ups, marketing pranks, and cats ridding around on a roomba. However there are a few which have struck a cord with viewers, and garnered enough attention that they warrant investigation.


political viral videos Kony 2012


With an astonishing number of views online – close to the 100 million mark – and said to be “the fastest growing viral video of all time“, Kony 2012 took the social media space by storm in 2012. It blew up everyone’s facebook feed, stirred controversy, and raised a lot of awareness about their cause.


If you haven’t already seen one of the most infamous political viral videos about one of the most hated men in the world, watch it now.



Kony 2012 was an experiment, as the creators called it. An experiment to see if a video, shared across the world through social media, would really be able to make a difference. This video was created by individuals who knew how captivating the moving image can be. They understood the power of a catchy, almost gimmicky video, based around an intriguing man, and an important issue.


Like with anything that grows quickly in popularity, the video did catch a lot of criticism and skeptics.


“Ugandan advocates and actual Ugandans accuse the filmmakers of wild inaccuracies and irresponsible advocacy. Joseph Kony, for instance, is no longer believed to be in Uganda, as the film indicates, and his remaining armies are known to be far smaller than indicated.”


However, for its efforts there were measurable results which have been documented by the Invisible Children foundation.


kony


These statistics, along with the amount of interest from individuals around the globe who took the time to watch a half hour long video, proves the point that political viral videos can have an impact. They can be fuel to a fire that is raging around the world, for people who want to see change.


Egyptian Boy Explains Revolution


In early 2013 a video entitled “Egypt: The Next President” began circulating the net. A young boy stands to the side of a busy street. Protestors, shouting with large signs raised above their heads march behind him. The boy begins to express his feelings about the current state of his home country, Egypt, and the inequalities posed on the poor, as well as the female population.



Through this political viral videos this young boy has been given a voice. He is clearly intelligent, articulate, and understands the subject matter which he speaks about. However, none of that matters if no one is there to listen. A simple video such as this one, shot with a backdrop of furry and commotion from the protesters walking by, resonates with a lot of viewers. This is seen by the fact that this video has over 3.5 million views on YouTube.


What is the impact of this video though? Has this young boy’s heartfelt plea for a more democratic Egypt actually produced anything in the physical world? Maybe, or maybe not. It is a hard measurement to gauge. However, if it has been able to enlighten some Westerners on the plight of those living under the Egyptian regime, and the circumstances and inequalities regular civilians there face, then maybe it can be a called a success. Maybe this little video does have merit and meaning.


Beyond just aiding ignorant foreigners, what if his passionate speech gave Egyptians living in fear the courage to stand up for what they believe is right. Not only on a grand scale such as joining in the violent protests, but something as simple as defending a secular co-worker, or aiding a single woman on the street instead of shaming her. What if this video did create a cause for change? Unfortunately without documented proof we will never know. But at least political viral videos such as this one produce an environment where there is an opportunity to entice change.


Enticing Change


As more and more political viral videos such as these are created, and the population continues to take notice, their importance within the larger revolution will begin to be seen. As has been documented throughout history, it only takes one person, and one event to unite a population, spark a revolution and make a change. With the power of video, and an avenue like the internet, we the people are more equip than ever before.