Get Used to It - Hashtag Activism is the Way of the Future

Though its name might make it seem trivial, hashtag activism it is one of the fastest, if not most effective ways to spread the word about a message. Social media and hashtag activism make spreading news quick and simple, and it has done a fantastic job of bringing racial and social justice issues to the forefront of our minds, particularly the minds of younger individuals who are most likely to use social media.

One hashtag can take off in a matter of hours, and by the end of the day thousands of people can be talking about any given topic, which can be extremely beneficial when it comes to social and political issues. A simple 140-character tweet can spark a revolution. Take #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #ICantBreathe for example. In a political sphere, it can be hard to level the playing field. Part of what makes hashtag activism via social media so wonderful and versatile is that it does just that. On social media – to an extent – we’re all the same, equals. In many ways, you could say that platforms like Twitter force users to listen to what everyone else is saying, regardless of their background, and everyone gets a somewhat equal shot at getting their voice heard. These days, it’s not out of the norm for any average Twitter user to rack up as many retweets as Ariana Grande or even the President of the United States. 

Social media makes personal connection easy and accessible. Online, it’s possible to find and insert yourself into communities of like-minded individuals, something that is not always an easy feat in the real world. Hashtag activism increases visibility for issues and viewpoints regarding people of color, trans persons, and countless other marginalized groups who typically may have a harder time getting people in power positions to listen to what they have to say. For example, Twitter and Instagram allow for the creation of spaces where women of color who identify as feminists can connect with other women of color and discuss their ideas, their personal experiences (which often directly correlate with the color of their skin) and be just be heard and understood in general.

Today, feminism has reached a pivotal point: will it continue on its current course, a course that primarily serves white women -- even if it does so unintentionally? Or will mainstream feminism open itself up to critique and implement intersectional courses of action? Will it restructure itself to begin to focus more on the issues of women of color than are rarely addressed in mainstream feminism? Whether we choose to acknowledge this or not: mainstream feminist groups too often lack intersectionality. They focus on the problems of the privileged (usually white) majority, and others are often left by the wayside.

By giving people a platform to openly discuss their beliefs, social media is helping get people to a place where mindsets and policies can be challenged and changed, all by something as simple as a tweet or a Facebook post.

Social media platforms aren't just a place to go online and waste time anymore – their possibilities are limitless. Endless social and political debates are sparked on social media sites every day, and that trend isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.