Social media plays a very important part in the modern world we live in. Aside from its traditional use, social media has been used in other areas that we may not have foreseen a few years back. Politics, crime, research, education, you name it. The most vital parts of our society have been affected by social media over the past five years.
As social media has the power to reach an audience on such a grand scale, we see big news and online campaigns on a daily basis. Hell, Twitter has proven itself to be a faster news source than the tabloids themselves. Remember the London riots of 2011? The news broke out on Twitter before the news channels even had a chance to step foot onto the scene of the crime. Another campaign that recently caught our eye on Twitter was the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. On 14th April 2014, over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria by a group of ‘militant Islamists.’ The world reacted in seemingly the only way we know how: social media.
#BringBackOurGirls exploded across social media platforms, mainly Facebook and Twitter with people taking to the networks to express their opinions. This use of ‘hashtag activism’ as it’s known, seems to have got people talking. Issues of the colour of their skin, religion, and the ‘if this had happened in Europe’ mentality have dominated the news arguably more than the actual facts themselves. Fox News even slammed the campaign, calling it ‘an exercise in self-esteem.’ Despite all of this, we can see the positive side to hashtag activism. Raising awareness of an issue in my opinion shouldn’t be negative…The whole point of doing so is to educate people on issues of which they may not be aware. Education is considered a gift to many and if we have the opportunity to educate people, I believe we should do so. Even though we can’t bring them back ourselves, having the intention is at least worth something, right?
The campaign has raised an important issue, are the world leaders just caught up in a social media frenzy? We have seen celebrities, politicians and world leaders using their online voices to express their concerns and worries but the fact remains, these girls are STILL missing. The average person doesn’t have the power to physically find these girls and bring them back. The world leaders and public figures we have seen retweeting however, do. Whether it’s just their way of telling us ‘we are acting as we tweet’, who knows. All I can say is that hopefully these girls will be found and returned home safely.
Famously backing the campaign is first lady of the USA, Michelle Obama. The Obamas are known to be big Twitter fans with Barack himself using Twitter in his winning presidential campaign back in 2012.