It gets put down, it’s being used as an insult – hashtag activism has emerged in society. It’s a way for people to use hashtags on social media in order to raise awareness for things they care about. So why is this a bad thing? Well, a lot of people seem to think that hashtag activism is a cop out because these people are not really taking proper action to change things.
Okay, I get that. But isn’t raising awareness of issues an important part of activism? If people cannot or are uncomfortable taking real action for whatever reason then surely taking part in hashtags on social media is something to do, better than nothing. These can be powerful and direct. For example, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown saw people of colour post photos of themselves doing ‘good’ things next to photos of themselves looking like ‘thugs’ or in stereotypically shown ways and asking which photo the media would use if they were killed. This directly showed that the media representation of black people is biased and unfair. All it took was people tweeting and it was very powerful.
So hashtag activism is not all powerful but it does make a difference. It raises awareness of important issues in a way that social media users can connect to. It allows everyone to get involved in important issues. Of course, we want people to take action where possible but whilst social media is at the centre of so many lives, using hashtags for good is a great thing.