The Impact of Hashtag Activism
It is no secret that the 21st century is the world’s first digital age. We are united by social media platforms, global trends, and viral videos. With the growth of globally active social media users, hashtag activism has been changing the complexion of advocacy. The digital age has curated an environment through which ordinary citizens can galvanize for global change. Hashtags have the power to raise awareness and visibility for a cause while global trends can realize a tangible change in policy and justice. The fight for human rights has never been as comprehensive and effective as it is now.
Hashtags are data easily tracked and analyzed. On most social media platforms, the global trends in sports, entertainment, international issues, and politics are recorded and broadcasted. The human rights movements igniting the world are also monitored on social media. The hashtags #itsonus, #yesallwomen, #heforshe, and #GirlsCount fight gender inequality in every sphere of society. The famous hashtag #BlackLivesMatter ignited social media last year and provoked a national movement towards racial equality. After an attack by Boko Haram in Nigeria in 2014, the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls spread globally. After school shootings or terrorist attacks, people around the world united in solidarity. Citizens of the world can finally unite for a single cause across borders, governments, and cultures.
The power of the celebrity has also increased through the impact of social media. The participation of international voices such as Michelle Obama, David Cameron, Emma Watson, and Malala Yousafzi in human rights movements has become an important asset in galvanizing global audiences, raising awareness, and creating momentum for change. As technology gives us universal access to one another, we are able to gather and empower each other like never before. The technological age has given global activism its foundation and now it can sound its battle cry around the world. We can look toward a world where the freedom of our speech is heard louder than ever before. Hashtags are aligned with social activism and are changing the way people can fight for what they believe in. As technology becomes more intertwined with international issues, the power and influence of an ordinary citizen will multiply. As our world plummets ahead, how will we use this global connection now endowed to us?