Global Voices Podcast: The Good and Bad of Online Campaigns

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Hello World!

Welcome to another edition of the Global Voices podcast.
In this edition we have company in the voice of co-host Yazan Badran, a Global Voices author from Syria based in Japan. The topic this month is global social media campaigns: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Views on Kony 2012 from Africa

In the last month we have seen one of the most controversial social media campaigns light up Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. The “Kony 2012″ campaign by the organisation Invisible Children went viral with a video about war Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony that was seen by millions of people. But was it the right way to highlight an issue? We've tracked several responses here.

There were many points of criticism when it came to the project, not least from people in Uganda.

Rosebell Kagumire is a journalist, blogger and Global Voices author from Uganda, living in Kampala. She works as an editor for Channel 16, a news site by bloggers about conflict and humanitarian news. When she first saw the Kony 2012 video, Rosebell uploaded a very critical YouTube response that has been viewed more than 500,000 times. She shares her thoughts with us about her initial reactions.

Citizens in many African nations took issue with the Kony campaign.

‘Femi Adesina is a British-born Nigerian web and creative technologist who describes herself as an African in the diaspora. She agrees there are problems with Kony 2012, but thinks it's hard to be too critical when people have the best intentions.

Are social media campaigns always a good thing?

Online campaigning is not new. It can be a good way to crowdsource opinions, attract volunteers and even raise money. Yazan argues that the anti-SOPA blackouts were quite effective. They were informative and educated many people about the dangers of institutional censorship of the web.

We threw the question out to the Global Voices community asking for their thoughts on online campaigns. Thanks to Asteris Masouras from Greece, Lova Rakotomalala from Madagascar, Mohamed Ragab from Egypt, Rana Khattab from Palestine based in Saudi Arabia, and Mohammed Adel from Yemen for their views.

Unite for Syria marked the escalation of protests and violence in that country by encouraging people around the world to uploading images to show their support for Syrians. Tarek Amr, an engineer and an author for Global Voices from Cairo, Egypt, told us more about the campaign that also involved global celebrities.

PR for charities and NGOs

As well as grassroots efforts, there are PR companies who work closely with online campaigns for non-profits and activist groups. Boyd Neil is SVP and National Practice Leader for Social Media and Digital Communications at Hill+Knowlton Strategies in Canada. He says getting the social web right is difficult.


It seems from our guests in this edition are divided on what they made of the Kony campaign, but mostly united in the idea that the social web can help to amplify a message in a good way.

Of course, it all depends on how you measure success. Amplifying a message, doesn’t necessarily translate into the desired effect beyond the virtual realm.

Thank you for listening!

We hope you enjoyed this edition of the podcast. A huge thank you to Yazan for being great company and a brilliant co-presenter, as well as to all of our informed and amazing guests.

The Global Voices Podcast, the world is talking, we hope you’ve been listening!

Music Credits
In the podcast you can hear lots of lovely Creative Commons music. Thanks to Mark Cotton  for his fantastic creations and thanks also to all of the wonderful voice over performances and clips that help to glue the podcast together. The Global Voices Podcast, the world is talking, we hope you’re listening!

Global Voices Podcast HomepageSubscribe in iTunes

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