A screen grab of the video KONY 2012, created by Invisible Children in an effort to bring rebel Joseph Kony to justice.
CALGARY - Nineteen years old, a fan of electronic music and video games, and musing over which college to attend next fall.
Blake Litchfield is a typical Canadian teen -- a high school graduate with a Facebook site teeming with photos of friends, fun and frivolity, without a care in the world.
Well, unless you count the most wanted war criminal on the planet.
Because there, among the music, games and movies, is a far more serious social-media interest -- one that's spread around the globe like no protest before it.
"This is about a monster on the loose who needs to be stopped -- and that's all it is," said Litchfield, who lives in Calgary.
It's called Kony 2012, and in the 72 hours since the campaign was launched by activist group Invisible Children via a 27-minute video, more than 11-million people have watched on YouTube alone.
And the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter was #stopkony.
In truth, Kony 2012 is not about stopping the Ugandan warlord who enslaves children, so much as making Joseph Kony a household name, ensuring U.S. troops stay in Uganda and help catch the butcher.
The video is sharp and expertly crafted to wrench hearts, and it's the lynchpin that's convinced so many young people, in Canada and around the world, to join the cause.
It's not just youth, of course, who are climbing aboard the anti-Kony bandwagon -- but the impetuous for this cause is younger users of social media, who are spreading the story faster than high-school gossip.
By Wednesday evening, nearly a million people an hour were viewing the YouTube film and adding to the avalanche of outrage over Kony.
So who is he? The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, a group that calls itself fundamentalist Christian, Kony is blamed for tens of thousands of deaths over the past two decades, along with rapes, mutilation and enslavement.
That last horror is a major focus of the film, produced by U.S.-based charity Invisible Children as the latest of a series of anti-Kony campaigns made over the past decade.
Kony's main claim to infamy is the 30,000 children he has forced to work as soldiers and sex slaves in his army, often forcing them to murder their own parents at gunpoint.
It's a twisted trademark that's made him the International Criminal Court's most-wanted war criminal, and convinced the U.S. to send a small force of "advisers" to the area to try and capture the cruel warlord.
"We're collaborating for the ultimate cause, to stop the slavery and abuse of tens of thousands of innocent children in Uganda."
So wrote Michelle Gerard on Toronto's Kony 2012 Facebook page, adding her voice to the clamour of outrage about a monster few had even heard of Wednesday morning. Not anymore.
Rallies and a postering campaign are planned for April 20, with groups forming in major cities across Canada -- including Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and Winnipeg.
That's where 19-year-old Litchfield added his name, both to support the rally and to counter the inevitable criticism which pokes anything popular these days -- cynical backlash being as trendy as social media itself.
"Someone is trying to do a good thing, and some people are just cutting it down," he said,
"You always get those certain people who are negative, and I don't know if they're doing it for shock value or because they genuinely believe what they are saying."
In this case, critics have attacked Invisible Children for seeking donations, for spending too much on staff and films, and for supporting military intervention in Uganda.
Other say the anti-Kony movement really is a fleeting bandwagon, to be replaced by the next shiny object to trickle down the Internet.
Litchfield is far more optimistic, saying Kony 2012 may have just shown the world what a supposedly narcissistic, self-absorbed generation can do when motivated.
"It's not just about Kony, it's about every other person out there who's like him," said Litchfield.
"He's not the first, he won't be the last -- but if you bring awareness to something like this, people will want to stop it from happening. The world is smaller than it's ever been."