* Apparently this embedded bit doesn't show up or work half the times I view this page so click the above link if you only see one of the two things I said were here!
Personally, I've known of Kony for a long time. Plenty of people have.
The thing to realize is that KONY2012 and the entire Kony situation is complicated. And more complicated. He is a terrible, terrible man. That much has been clear. I do think it's interesting that people seem to question where their money goes, when they don't claim to (from what I can tell in my recent browsing) be giving all of their money to the kids. If people think they should, that's one valid thing to talk about, but I think it's an unfair criticism to say that they aren't giving their money to the kids when they aren't claiming they are. It would be different if they were claiming all their money goes to the children. But I don't think they do. They are big on advocacy. They're good at it. It's what they do. People who claim they're misappropriating money may not realize that they are not claiming to be doing anything else with the money. It seems like an unfair accusation. This doesn't make them bad. They pretty clearly have posted where their money goes -- I don't see them hiding anything there. No, buying a KONY2012 shirt won't be giving money directly to a child. But I don't see them claiming that it will. Are they trying to be "saviors"? I think it's a bit of a weighty label to bandy about as though anyone trying to help when they are in a position of power to do so is trying to be a "savior" (I put the quotation marks because when the term is used it's meant in a derogatory way).
Does the younger population that's just leaving high school/entering college need to become aware of issues like this? Yes. I'm sure plenty of people my age and older have been aware of Kony for years (and I'm sure plenty haven't and the video is Breaking News). There are plenty of younger people who may not be tuned into that frequency. I visited a high school English class about two months ago to talk about Ishmael Beah's book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier and many of them were shocked at the things Beah described in the book because the concept of child soldiers was New[s] to them. And it seems far more likely that more would become tuned in by a viral campaign instead of a random English class.
Now, does that awareness help? Everyone jokes about slacktivism after all. It comes down to what your definition of 'help' is. Is increased military involvement good? Maybe. Maybe not. We can go back to the old "it's complicated" argument. Because I think it is. And I'm not saying it's complicated as in "it's impossible to stop Kony". I just mean I think it's complicated in a logistical sense. Maybe this campaign will result in more young people becoming more aware and then subsequently continuing to stay tuned into the global conversation and that would be a good thing. And as the NPR segment points out, is a powerful push by the people for military action a good thing if it's successful?
I do wonder though if April 20 is too far away. Does the younger generation have the attention span to dig heels in and make the kind of poster-y awareness impact that they want to all as a group over a month from now? (I feel old saying that, but I include myself in that generation. I think. I'm turning 26 this year, where do I fall in all this, anyway?)