08 Feb How Hashtags Became Activism
Even if you don’t have twitter, I’m sure you’ve come across some of the most popular hashtags such as #MeToo, #TakeAKnee, and #thisisnotconscent
Social Media has played a significant role in raising awareness to issues across the world. Huge movements have started from hashtags like #MeToo and #thisisnotconscent.
The #MeToo movement came to light during the fall of 2017- many females came forward and accused powerful men of sexual harassment and assault. The eruption of the campaign brought down some of the most prominent figures in Hollywood, sports, politics, and the media.
The coverage #MeToo gained through social media is a huge reason for the lasting impact.
#ThisIsNotConsent surfaced in the media after a judge in Ireland was encouraged to consider the choice of underwear of a 17-year-old girl, in a rape trial. The anger and frustration that arose during this case were speared across social media with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent. Without this tag, the movement would not have gained a global attraction. This trial and case happened overseas, but the news also made its way to North America because of the sheer volume of users who engaged with this movement on social media.
Our society revolves around social media, especially for millennials. The news and trending stories are now so easily accessible through social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. A decent amount of world events has informed me through these social media platforms. It is apart of the norm to be thoroughly engaging on social media platforms because it shows you care and are well aware of global events.
Hashtags have become apart of a new form of activism, social media activism.
There is so much power in the click of a button; sharing, liking, and commenting on posts and news threads has changed the way we interact in culture. The way we engage with social media has also changed the way social media communicates with its users.
One of the first movements across social media was the #ASLIceBucketChallange. This challenge came about when I was in high school. I remember kids boasting more about being nominated and posting a video than actually supporting the cause. This hashtag and memory of having a bucket of ice poured on my head was the first indication of my social media presence and the power and dominion effect it has on popular culture. This was the first instance I let social media dictate my life.
In recent months, Instagram has taken up a couple of new features to the insta stories, users can now interact with their followers by asking them questions that allow for them to tap on their answer or choice that aligns with their opinion.
Not all questions are relevant to political or cultural movements, but the fact that users can take into their own hands a display of opinions, it shifts the way we look at traditional media outlets because they are no longer the only opinion to be looked at. Social media has opened up the opportunity for users to become journalists.
However, being social activists and having a social media presence are two different concepts. When a user is socially active, they are using their platform to bring to light the awareness of a cause or movement. Meanwhile, having a social media presence can be more of a selfish tactic for users to gain recognition by using movements in society for their benefit.
It’s not that people don’t care, it’s more so that they are aware of the traction certain movements bring, and the idea of supporting a movement might bring them more recognition is more a factor than actually doing justice to the movement. Would we care about the same causes and movements we support online as we would in real life?