Stand up with hashtags

Before the era of constant connection, communication, and information, advocacy and protesting took place outside tall office buildings and usually centered on one message belted out by a single individual standing on a soapbox holding a megaphone. Fast-forward to today, and a centralized message can reach millions of people around the world with the brush of a keystroke, or more specifically, a hashtag.

Such an example can be seen with The Representation Projects online campaign against sexism in the media, #notbuyingit. The online protest has brought national attention to H&M, Nike, and GoDaddy for using sexism in their advertising by protestors sharing links to their websites with #notbuyingit, and boycotting not only the advertised product, but the company as a whole.  This was so effective, GoDaddy dropped their marketing advisors in 2013 in favor of advertising in a way that was more positive towards women.

Many modern day uprisings and demands for social change have been brought about by internet activisim. Revolutionary demonstrations and protests in 2010 brought the riots of the Arab Spring to an international level. A small call for protest against Wall Street by the an online community that called Anoymous sparked the Occupy Movement that spread across the United States, and today politicians running for office use the internet to both promote themselves and smear their opponent.

As the power of the internet grows, and more communities are formed online, the Experience feels that using social media to encourage change is the advocacy tool of the future, and can be a powerful way to address social issues on campus. We are a generation of experts on social media, and have seen how far a message can go when young people of a like mind come together online to make a difference, change the course of a conversation, and call for social change. As students, we should all be fighting for education reform, a balanced budget, and fair representation. The next time one of these issues are in danger, do not settle for explanations or apologies. Students of LMC, pick up your hashtags and fight back.