Have protests come down to hashtags?

Look at the number of times you check your phone in a day. For most of us, a day doesn’t pass by without social media, be it WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, or gen Z’s favorite Snapchat. If we notice, all these have become a part of our lives and also have a considerable impact on our lives. Individuals and organizations have started to express their social and political views to gain support through social media hashtags. Hashtags help take the issue forward to a wide audience with no regional or boundary constraints.

Hashtag activism(using twitter hashtags for activism) has been a crucial part of the past few years in major protests from #OccupyWallStreet to #blacklivesmater.

Let’s take the example of the very recent hashtag movement #blacklivesmatter. It is a regional issue that has gained the attention of people all around the world, all thanks to twitter hashtags. A lot of people all around the world have taken to the streets and condemned the US police brutality against George Floyd. But not all hashtags lead to protests, a lot of them just remained in the twitter.

Image from ABC Network

It is true that hashtags disseminate the issue cost-effectively beyond one’s social group and help start a movement. Trending hashtag does not mean a solution, it needs a call to action. Will the quick sign-in petitions and hashtags help change the government? But is it all just about digital rage? Most campaigns fail to create a real impact even with a trending hashtag. Why? Because putting up a post or tweet with a trending hashtag has become a new cool thing to do now for attention, and it’s so tragic. The majority of those tweeting neither would volunteer their time nor put their efforts to protest to make a difference. Because it’s hard to get a political or social change compared to making a hashtag trend, right?

If we want something to change, we have to put our efforts into it too. Change solely does not depend on a trendy hashtag, it requires our voice, our time, our sweat, our strength, and our blood. Let’s be the change.

Contributed by Vishitha Reddy, Content Writer at Mitti Ke Rang

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