The power of social media cannot be dismissed. It may have started as a more refined means of keeping in touch with the world and your friends, sharing and connecting with people who share your interests, but at present, it has become one of the largest forces for societal change, exposing truths, creating a safe space for conversations that otherwise have no platform and most importantly, empowering people’s voices.
Thus, social media and hashtags are not only serving as a tool for dissemination and entertainment, but as a far better tool for democracy and activism. Its ability to bring issues to the fore front of your attention is fast turning it into the medium of choice for starting a conversation, moving it into on the ground actions that have resounding effects.
#OscarsSoWhite they asked to touch my hair.” In 2015 after the #Oscar nominees were announced, Editor, Writer and Activist April Reign, shared that post, and it sparked conversations off and online on the lack of diversity in Hollywood. The hashtag took on a life of its own and the year after, it has influenced systematic changes in Hollywood and the larger entertainment industry.
Since Reign shared that tweet, the Oscars Academy has announced and pledged to diversify its members by 2020. Hollywood now look out for a diversified cast thanks to online efforts and protests.
One of the most powerful aspects of social media is that it provides an independent platform for people to express themselves while connecting with like-minded individuals and create an ecosystem that allows for them to harness that power and cause domino effects. Crafting a hashtag that carefully summarizes your topic without losing the power and voices behind it, ensuring that it does not lose its momentum on social media or even disseminating the right information relating to it is no mean feat.
On the 12th of September, April Reign will be in Ghana for the independently organized Social Media Week, to speak on ‘The Power of Twitter and Opportunities’, the many ways you can translate conversations online into purposeful action offline.
There are a thousand ways social media is changing lives, holding power to account and causing systemic changes. This session will be beneficial to that NGO looking for a platform to amplify their voice, that advocate effecting changes and the public figure working for the people, this is your session. Come learn about the power of the hashtag, how to create them and allow them to educate and provoke change. It’s not just noise. It’s having an effect.