beyond the hashtag activism – Article 21


Black Lives Matter: beyond the hashtag activism

Pleasure and pleasure on social networks seems to have become a narcissistic practice, in which the overexposure of oneself and one’s image on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, presents some typical compulsive characters, but also a propensity towards vanity and manipulation. narcissism and post, but even more between narcissism and video is measured by the sound of filters, selfies and parodies of lives from the upper class. In some cases, then the posts are flaked by the ostentation of good intentions and causes embraced on the web.

If on the one hand the self-image appears filtered, on the other hand, however, the thought that some users present is distorted, to the advantage of a better reputation.

So to be appealing on social networks, a part of the users are compassionate and proactive, write posts worthy of the speeches for the final of Miss America, manifest interest in the big social issues, although beyond the like of the facade there is not much else.

Racial issues, battles for civil rights, marches against gender violence, for peace and against terrorism, for denunciation or solidarity are among the trending topics with a strong social impact.

In other words, the gate unites the most popular campaigns on the net, creating what is called hashtag activism. From the #BlackLivesMatter to the popular #BringBackOurGirls #MeToo #JeSuisCharlie #Notinmyname #OscarSoWhite #iononsonounvirus.

Web campaign accelerators are: virality and immediacy in the dissemination of content; the consequences: the spotlight on striking news or topics of general interest, with the possibility of affecting social and political changes, giving voice to minority groups or less represented in the public sphere.

Readers will recall that George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin in Florida, however Zimmerman was found not guilty in 2013 because he allegedly acted in self-defense. Following the ruling, the hashtag began to circulate online #BlackLivesMatter as a sign of dissent for what happened. The hashtag was devised by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, who co-founded the movement that became popular in 2014, after street protests over the death of two African Americans: Michael Brown and Eric Garner, killed by police officers . After Ferguson’s protests, movement participants continued to take to the streets to demonstrate for other African Americans, killed as a result of Cops’ actions or during custody in prison.

Consider again the thousands of people gathered on 42nd street to say goodbye to George Floyd, all wearing masks to say no to racism and ask for a US police reform.

To stay in the USA, well-known hashtags were:

in 2014 #BringBackOurGirls, released by Michelle Obama to contest the kidnapping of 110 girls from a technical and scientific institution in the state of Yobe, in northeastern Nigeria, by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. Sharing the hashtag from the profiles of millions of users increased global awareness of the story and the news of the problem;

in 2017 #MeToo it was the hashtag that went viral on social media to demonstrate the frequency of sexual violence and harassment suffered by women especially in the workplace. Its release began after public revelations and allegations of sexual assault on Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein;

in 2020, when the Oscar nominations were announced, he also returned to the trending topic #OscarsSoWhite, the hashtag launched in 2015 by editorial director April Reign, to ask to widen the audience of candidates and winners to black-skinned, Asian and Latin actors and directors. The controversy broke out on social media but also on the media for the choice of only white actors, even between actors and actresses not protagonists. And one wonders how many pretend not to remember the data released by the Census Bureau, the United States Census Bureau, according to which the white population after 2044 will be a minority?

However, the derogatory meaning of hashtag activism is around the corner and believes this illusory and propagandistic bombing effect, more than responding to a concrete commitment on the field, which may be long-term. In many cases it concerns a comfortable adherence to known slogans, which does not result in any act, and the deception or trap lies in thinking that the disruptive force of approving the cause on social media, involves real awareness and support for some battles. In many cases, the appreciation indicated with a little heart does not reflect the user’s actual thought, nor does the start of a joint practice that contributes to the solution of the problem, indeed it could be the result or the last link of a studied targeting plan online.

A few weeks after Floyd’s sad end, to return to Black lives matter, the consideration is that we will witness the usual carambola of the up & down of the news, and then the clamor will be followed by the silence of the second floor and the disdain of the citizens, for the many George Floyd scattered around the world, will leave a little time.

The awareness of inequalities and for the affirmation of fundamental rights and freedoms cannot be entrusted to social interventions, nor can it be the flag waved every other day, besides the hashtag activism there is more and impacts on the governance of the social and economic policies of the various states.

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