Occupy the Internet: ‘Hashtag Activism’ May Be the Way of the Future



By Shovelling Son, on Flickr Creative Commons

From Maya Lowenstein at The Collegian / 04.28.2016

Who remembers the good old days when Facebook existed purely as a platform to share spring break vacation pictures and wish your uncle a happy birthday? Now, when I inevitably succumb to procrastination and check my social media accounts, Facebook no longer offers the mindless form of distraction I seek and instead serves more as an actual news source and space for sharing ideas, articles and videos.

Media outlets have named the recent popularity of using social media to promote a cause as “hashtag activism.” Notable examples of hashtag activism include #BlackLivesMatter, #YesAllWomen and perhaps the campaign that started it all: #Kony2012. I admit I used to think hashtag activism was mildly annoying. Surely this wasn’t what Mark Zuckerberg envisioned Facebook to be. On a less petty note, I was at a loss about what hashtag activism actually accomplished. Surely a real, live protest could pack a bigger punch.

Recently, I’ve had a change of heart. I realize Facebook statuses and Twitter hashtags are the virtual megaphones of our generation. The power of social media lies in our ability to access such platforms from the palm of our hands.

With the click of a button we have the power to start a movement.