The hashtag…The start of a Movement

The power of #hastags.

As I wrote my last post on school lunches I couldn’t help but think of Shonda Rhimes commencement speech at Dartmouth. Rhimes briefly discusses hashtags and (social) activism.

…When I discussing school lunches, I can’t help but think of food justice and food policy–obesity, hunger, sustainable agriculture are just a few of the popular public health issues being talked about today.

Why? Social Media.

Do a simple online search and you will find headlines, discussions and hashtags surrounding these issues. I have to give a special shout-out to twitter because it has become a platform to engage people and raise awareness on food justice issues (as well as other social issues)–#FoodFri, #FoodDayChat, #FedUpChallenge, #SaveSchoolLunch are just a few of the twitter conversations I’ve enjoyed recently. I find TwitterChats insightful and educational; they allow me to learn about new initiatives, interact with others passionate on the subject and they are a source of inspiration for me. It gets me thinking about the difference I can make in my community. It motivates me to get out there and make it happen.

As Shonda Rhimes said, “a hashtag is not a movement” but they can be the start of a movement.

I believe there is such a thing as social activism! No, it’s not enough to just seat behind a computer and tweet about an issue. But it certainly counts for something. The internet is such a big part of today’s culture-especially among the younger generation. It does play a part in activism, it can spark an interest. The right hashtag has the ability to motivate someone to go out in the world and DO something…it doesn’t have to end with someone “sitting on their butt, typing into their computer and then going back to binge watching their favorite show”.

What are your thought on hashtags and social activism? 

Are they any hashtags that have motivated you to learn more about a cause?

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