The text below is an excerpt from the original article by Giovanna Mingarelli, published March 28, 2012 on World Economic Forum Blog.
People around the world have been empowered by social media to take action on the issues they care about
This was made clear by the Arab Spring last year, the ongoing Occupy movement and, most recently, the Kony 2012 campaign. At the heart of the campaign is a 30 minute film created by Invisible Children, Inc., aimed at making indicted Ugandan war criminal, Joseph Kony, famous in order to have to him arrested for the horrific enslavement, abuse and killing of children in Africa over the course of several decades.
These bottom-up social movements have all challenged traditional top-down government structures in their own right. In fact, some might argue the traditional top-down leadership model, once so fitting for governments around the world, has been flipped on its head.
Reflecting on this global trend, the World Economic Forum’s report, Outlook on the Global Agenda 2012, explores the need for governance frameworks to include both informal structures of power and influence, along with traditional formal structures of government, moving forward.
This observation has been driven home by Invisible Children’s director, Jason Russell, who has shown that crowdsourced action through informal social networks can drive meaningful and transformative movements across geographic and political boundaries, given the right cause.
The Kony 2012 video is now the most successful viral video of all time with more than 100 million views – an impressive feat for a 30 minute piece. It has placed widespread and protracted public pressure on governments and institutions, including the United States and the African Union, to respond to their plight. And it has worked. Action is now being taken, by both governing bodies, to capture the fugitive warlord because of this movement.