When an individual or group of people who have no real power want to spread awareness the first thing they do is put it on different social media sites in the hope that it will go viral. This is what happened with the Kony 2012 campaign which circulated the web for quite a while, something Jenkins (2012) discusses in relation to youth and politics.
More recently, there has been a campaign known as #BringBackOurGirls. An American woman discovered that more than 200 girls in Nigeria were kidnapped and sold into slavery or prostitution and shocked by the awful truth she started a campaign.
Hashtag activism has become a popular campaign method, however it has its faults. Although it sparks outrage and whirlwind on social media it is rare that actual action is undertook and the issue will often die down after a few months and is left unresolved. For the #BringBackOurGirls campaign their have been influential figures such as Michelle Obama, Angelina Jolie, Alexa Chung and many more who have taken photos with the hashtag which encourages people to do the same.
The British PM David Cameron held a sign up and has since been criticised because of it as much of the public argue that the point of the hashtag campaign is to gain the attention of people in power like himself so that he can do something about it not just hold up a sign. The public have questioned whether Cameron think the best thing he can do is to show his support on television. Cameron explains that he has organised to “send out a team that includes some counter-terrorism and intelligence experts to work alongside the bigger American team that’s going out there”.
Although it is often the case that nothing may result out of things such as clicktivism, awareness through hashtags and sharing pages it gives minorities a voice and allows us protest against world issues in the hope that they will become public enough to influence actual change.
Jenkins, H. 2012. The New Political Commons. p. 1-4. [ONLINE] Available at: http://archive.irpp.org/po/archive/nov12/jenkins.pdf. [Accesed 08 May 14].
Morse, F., 2014. The Bring Back Our Girls Campaign is working: Boko Haram should be scared of a hashtag. The Independent. [online] Available at: <http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-bring-back-our-girls-campaign-is-working-boko-haram-should-be-scared-of-a-hashtag-9360830.html> [Accessed 10 May. 2014].
Day, F., 2014. Celebrities campaign for kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls: ‘Bring our girls back’. [online] Closer Online. Available at: <http://www.closeronline.co.uk/2014/05/celebrities-campaign-for-kidnapped-nigerian-schoolgirls-bring-our-girls-back> [Accessed 10 May. 2014].
Withnall, A., 2014. David Cameron joins #BringBackOurGirls Nigeria campaign – but is criticised on Twitter for ‘thinking it is really the best he can do’. The Independent. [online] Available at: <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-joins-bringbackourgirls-nigeria-campaign–but-is-criticised-on-twitter-for-thinking-it-is-really-the-best-he-can-do-9350960.html> [Accessed 11 May. 2014].