Mediated Mobilization has allowed social and political issues to be shared and spreads at record speeds. However, does the instantaneousness mean faster social change? Or does it fog our perception of what change looks like? In the case of the girls of Chibok boarding school in Nigeria, the abductions that took place there in April sparked global controversy. People around the world were made aware of a crisis happening thousands of miles away. Yet, everyone was receiving immediate information updates via social media. The most famous social media asset that arose from this movement is the #BringHomeOuGIrls hashtag that has been used over 3 million times and seen on the Twitter accounts of celebrities, politicians, and public figures alike. Ordinary people would support the cause my simply tying a few characters and seeding them into the abyss of the Twitter feed.
In an update from mid-September I found on the Huffington Post, apparently the millions of tweets and hashtags didn’t rescue the girls like tweet-ers hoped. By using a hashtag people felt like that was ample involvement and participation when that didn’t the individual to act, it gave them a slogan to advertise. In this case, words aren’t enough to actually bring out girls back. Which is sort of unsurprising when the people participating are tweeting about it and perhaps talking about it but do not unite in actuality to protest or seek social change. In this way, they’re digital protesting which can be useful when trying to be informative in a hurry but difficult to seek actual change if all anyone does is rant about it online. Imagine if people just tweeted about how bad savory was and used the hashtag #EndSlavory, it would have been that much harder to seek change if people talked and discussed but were slow to act on their beliefs. I think now people may tweet out a certain hashtag because it’s trendy or because someone they think is cool is supporting a certain cause.
Attached is the article from the Huffington Post, as well as from BBC which has a few numbers about the #BringBackOurGilrs hashtag. And a link to a picture that sums up my idea 🙂