People use social media for a variety of different reasons. Keeping in touch with family, friends, or simply to avoid awkward situations such as avoiding the BMO people offering me a credit card. However, social media is becoming more and more prominent in promoting social activism. An article by HuffingtonPost promotes Twitter as a tool that has the potential to call out injustices, inaccuracies and misrepresentations and brings about understanding of other cultures and people. Some of the common Twitter hashtag campaigns that have gained plenty of attention include #ALSicebucketchallenge bringing awareness to mental health issues, #bringbackourgirls focusing on Boko Haram and the kidnapping of many girls in Nigeria, #blacklivesmatter bringing attention to racism and racial profiling faced by black people in the United States, #whyIstayed focuses on women who where involved in abusive relationships. #IStandWithAhmed became a symbol for islamophobia after a 14-year-old was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school. The hashtag was shown support from Barack Obama encouraging him to stick with STEM and inviting him to the white house.
I expect they will have more to say tomorrow, but Ahmed’s sister asked me to share this photo. A NASA shirt! pic.twitter.com/nR4gt992gB
— Anil Dash (@anildash) September 16, 2015
It is clear that social media campaigns can raise awareness of issues that are need attention in society. One of the issues my friend and colleague Raquel Bellefleur raises is the getting the Regina Indian Residential School cemetery commemorated. Many children are buried at this location, many in unmarked graves. This would allow us to contact MPs and MLAs in Saskatchewan to raise attention to this little issue and as Raquel states, make connections to the call to actions.
Through this campaign, I believe we would be able to get some response from MPs and MLAs focusing on gaining awareness. Social media provides a voice that is able to be heard. As the article by HuffingtonPost states, by creating a hashtag campaign, people from all over Canada, and the world can become involve in important conversations.