Social Media 101: The Power of The Hashtag


As many of you know, I love social media, but moreover, I love having the opportunity to analyze and dissect the way in which we use it. If you didn’t know, the internet literally broke yesterday (hey #BlackTwitter) when footage of a very heated altercation between two celebrities was released.

Now we don’t know what was said to make Solange go off, however, she was more than likely defending her sister. Americans love gossip, especially as it relates to celebrities — that’s lowkey our society’s livelihood — so I’m not surprised by the number of memes, Vines, Facebook statuses and hashtags that were created immediately after TMZ posted the video in its entirety. Bottom line, none of us where in that elevator and know exactly what happened — so we can’t blame Solange nor can we speculate the possibility of JAY Z’s retaliation. Celebrities, no matter how much money they may have, are people with issues just like us. It’s just unfortunate that sometimes their most private moments are made public.

In light of the JAY Z x Solange incident, I saw one post on Instagram that said, “if there were as many posts vouching to bring back our girls compared to the Solange x Jay Z memes, we could really help bring those girls back.”

Uh, yes and no. These two situations are incomparable, with one being much more political than the other. Recently, Nigerian-American Teju Cole tweeted in response to the new wave online support, “Your new interest (thanks) simplifies nothing, solves nothing.” And there could be some truth to that.

It wasn’t until 2 weeks after the 200+ Schoolgirls from Nigeria had gone missing that Americans were even aware. All of a sudden, you see celebrities, politicians and other thought leaders with signs on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with “#bringbackourgirls”. FLOTUS Michelle Obama went so far as to make an entire video segment about it. But here’s the thing: while those may be “our girls” (because no woman should be held captive against her will) they’re not our girls. I’m not saying that our social activism won’t make a difference (see: #JusticeForTrayvon), but is this simply just another Internet cause that will soon fade to black? Or are we really going to stand together, take our strength in numbers OFFline and make sure that those 200+ girls are brought to safety?

Social media has become such a powerful tool over the last few years that yes, you can simply tweet, Facebook post or Instagram that you support a movement and go about your way. And while these two examples are very different, they still show the power of technology and how we communicate. With anything shared over the internet, I’ve learned that you have to have discernment in what you absorb, and how you choose to act upon it.

I pray the safe return of those young Nigerian women, and that the proper authorities can rectify the situation. From what I understand, the French, UK and United States governments have already let Nigeria know they are willing to help — which shows how powerful online communication can really be.

As for JAY Z, Beyoncé and Solange, they are clearly dealing with family business. The problem is that a very personal moment was exposed and now our nosey-ass American culture wants to know more because we’ve grown to idolize these individuals. Let’s have some ounce of respect and let the Knowles-Carter family handle their business in private.

What are your thoughts on #BringBackOurGirls? #WhatJayZSaidToSolange? Speak on it in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter!


3 thoughts on “Social Media 101: The Power of The Hashtag

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