This week World Vision Acts have been challenging me to think about sacrificing what feeds me with the aim of broadening my worldview. There were several examples given but the one that has really stood out this week is how we are feed by the media.
The media is one of the things in this culture that is really difficult to escape from; sure I can turn the television or computer off, but as I walk to work I pass hundreds of adverts which try to ‘feed me’ with their worldview, trying to influence me into buying their product or to support their cause. Simply put, where I am at the moment means that I cannot escape from the media.
One of the big things that has happened this week has been social media campaign by a relatively unheard of charity called Invisible Children. They produced a 30 minute video which emotively shared their cause about protecting children in Uganda from becoming child soldiers in an army lead by Joseph Kony. Despite being half an hour long, the video has been watched, shared, liked, retweeted, commented on, and it's still going!
Then a day later several blogs appeared from people who had done some digging posted their response which showed the other side of Invisible Children asking big questions about how the money is spent, points were raised about how linked with the Ugandan people this group really is, querying if military options are the right way to react, etc.
Invisible Children produced a response to these points, and I'm sure that others will produce a response to the response, and this will go on for a while. But it has seriously made me consider the media that I consume. I watched the 30 minute video, I clicked the 'like' button, and then thought about this challenge and realised that I was just allowing myself to be 'fed' a worldview by an emotive video that said the things that would provoke me into acting without really thinking about it or looking into it for myself.
I don't think the answer is to simply stop consuming media, I don't think that is being realistic. But perhaps a diet of what we consume would be a good place to start - critically thinking about what we are being fed through the media, in many cases being willing to sacrifice time in order to investigate further what is being said or sold.
Krish Kandiah, on his blog about this video, has made a set of really valuable points about how we can react to this. One of them is this:
"Make a difference - we need to find effective ways to help the poor and needy and to end moral horrors such as the use of child soldiers, people trafficking etc. But it may take more work that a [retweet]."
I think that what Invisible Children stand for is a good thing, their video highlighted something that hasn't been in the public eye. My response isn't going to be buying a make Kony famous pack from them, or painting Oxford with 'make Kony famous' banners but it has achieved one of their goals in raising awareness of the issue and prompting me to look into further into the situation and work out what I can do. One thing I do know is that it will take more that liking, linking and writing a short blog post on it.