- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 08 February 2017
- Written by KAITLIN MCGUIRE | STAFF WRITER
Everyone is guilty of taking time out of their day to refresh their social media feed. Lately, one of the topics of conversation is about the decisions President Donald Trump is making and how they affect every citizen. Other posts consist of cooking videos, funny memes, song lyrics, or just someone complaining about their day.
What some people fail to realize is the power that social media and all these seemingly unnecessary posts have.
People share articles, make comments and use hashtags to either get a topic trending or create attention around it so everyone can be involved.
Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing, Alex Gilvarry, said, “The hashtag compiles posts by people of like minds and a quick search could bring you in touch with those in your area who care about similar things.”
Whether you know it or not, you have probably seen and used some yourself. For example, #NoBanNoWall, #feminism, #tbt, #beatcancer, #love, the list goes on. Hashtags are a great way to get a situation trending and people’s opinions heard.
Do hashtags really make more of an impact than someone who is actively trying to make a change or speaking about an issue? Are hashtags enough for citizens to make a change?
Depending on the subject matter, and how far an individual is willing to go: yes! The help of social media does let people have a voice, and pulls people together, but sometimes, an individual behind a screen can cause more havoc than peace. It is all about how people approach an issue or discussion, and how people react.
Coral Cooper, a senior English and creative writing student, said, '#BellLetstTalk is to help spread awareness about mental illnesses. In that sense, the hashtag could offer emotional support for some and financial support if the movement behind the hashtag is sponsored. It offers connectivity to people across the globe."
Cooper continued, "However, when the hashtag is used to directly hurt someone through cyber bullying, it is not worth it. Some people have the online world as the only way of communicating with others--it can become very personal to them and make them feel attacked. The hashtag trend has the ability to link anyone with access to the Internet, but we can’t forget we’re people first and not just pixels on a screen.”
With #BellLetsTalk, the hashtag is used to create a support system for those who are struggling with mental illnesses. It was created to aid others, give hope, guidance, and positivity. Yet, cyber bullies can use the hashtag and use it as a vessel to make fun of and taunt others. That is a common pattern that seems to stem from hashtags and social media; people can make a good thing go sour.
Maryam Srouji, a senior psychology student, said, “I think that the hashtags that have meaning do actually count. Like it’s what the significance is behind it that makes or breaks it."
Srouji added, "For example, #gloup was stupid or #tbt is so overused. But, #NoBanNoWall has a social movement behind it, so when people actually spread it, it shows what they stand for and encourages other people to do it as well.”
Srouji concluded, "Using a specific hashtag when there is negativity in our country to bring everyone back on the same page has a great effect. Individuals want to feel safe, and not alone. Using a simple symbol creates a sense of family and a support system."
Students and faculty at Monmouth University, along with others around the globe, have the power to speak out about anything they wish--we have the ability and power at our fingertips.
We can't just abuse social media, and we have to use hashtags in a positive light. There is so much more that could be done than using a site to get an opinion or a following. Get out there, get involved, don’t stop at any limit to do what you think is right and advocate.
There is so much a few buttons on a keyboard can do. Getting a situation trending is a start, but take it to the next level. The possibilities are endless when we get off our devices and get involved. Be the change you want to see, go after it, and complete your goal.
IMAGE TAKEN from HerCampus.com.
IMAGE TAKEN from thecrimson.com.