Leading Change, Social Media for Ministries
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What KONY 2012 and Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus Have in Common

The type of content that causes engagement on social media has unique attributes that often become criticized and misunderstood by many, including the media.

The KONY 2012 video produced by Invisible Children and Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus video have many similarities.

High Production Quality

“With its slick Hollywood production values, the film has been an almost instant viral success, dominating Twitter worldwide and having one of the fastest ever take-offs on You Tube.” –KONY

“It’s a slick, high-gloss piece of work, distributed on the Vimeo site, the upscale version of YouTube for serious film-makers.”–KONY

“The video—which in a few days has gone from hundreds of views to thousands to millions—shows Jefferson Bethke, who lives in the Seattle area, delivering a well-crafted, sharply produced, spoken word poem.”–Why I Hate Religion

Content Questioned as Misleading

“And yet (you knew it was coming), amidst a lot of true things in this poem there is a lot that is unhelpful and misleading.”–What I Hate Religion

“It does not stick to the conventions of impartial journalism in the BBC style. It is partisan, tactless and very bold.”–KONY

Meant for Youth But Judged By Adults

“This video is the sort of thing that many younger Christians love.”–Why I Hate Religion

“Our films are made for high school children,” he said. “Our films weren’t made to be scrutinised by the Guardian. They were made to get young people involved in some of the world’s worst crimes.” –KONY

“It is a simple message which my 15-year-old son sent to me – Hollywood or not, it works!”–KONY

Humble Reaction from Creators of Content

“I’d keep the overall message, but would articulate, elaborate, and expand on the parts where my words and delivery were chosen poorly… My prayer is my generation would represent Christ faithfully and not swing to the other spectrum….thankful for your words and more importantly thankful for your tone and fatherly like grace on me as my elder. Humbled. Blessed. Thankful for painful growth. Blessings.”–Why I Hate Religion

“We’ve done our utmost to be as inclusive, transparent, and factual as possible. We built this organization with “seeing is believing” in mind, and that’s what why we are a media-based organization. We WANT you to see everything we are doing, because we are proud of it.”–KONY

The ubiquity of online content has created a feeling amongst many that every piece of media is meant for everyone. Yes social media has enabled anyone with an internet connection to discover any piece of content. But the fact that you discovered the content does not mean it was created for you.

These video had a very specific audience in mind and were not trying to produce a documentary. They think of themselves as artists. I’m encouraged by the criticism both received because it drew attention to significant issues.

Rather than be on the critic side I hope to spend the time learning what drove millions of people to share and watch something and improve my ability to influence and lead others towards redemptive change.


  1. Cheryl says

    Great perspective, Brian.

    I really like the value of involvement and doing something. Both of these campaigns are an attempt to get people to move – move to awareness and from awareness to action. I think that my generation can tend to fall into the category of “couch critics.” We can pick apart ideas, but what are we contributing? How are we jumping in to get involved? It relates to previous conversations of idea consumption v. Idea contribution. With such harsh criticism out there, thick skin is an asset! But the answer isn’t silence and apathy!

  2. Matt says

    Great post Brian. Thanks for being a voice for civil understanding and mediating for those who may have misunderstood.

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