May 20, 2014


Back a couple of weeks ago, I tweeted the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. I didn't (and still don't) think it would make a difference. Hashtag activism is knee-jerk and rarely does more than get the occasional jerk-off fired from a high-profile position. For complex issues like religious extremists in a nation torn by civil war kidnapping girls from a school that was instructing them outside of their religious faith, millions of tweets are not going to impact the situation.
It's a way for us, with our First World Problems to feel like we're making a difference without getting uncomfortable or inconvenienced: "I totally care about the unrest in Thailand. I tweeted about it." "Genocide in Sudan is terrible. #darfur" A lot of this loses even more significance when the following tweet is a spoiler for Game of Thrones or how much you hate the new Starbucks latte flavor for summer.
Now there is a study that also suggests that not only are the simplistic hashtags not working, the entire reason we latch onto them is because the issue at hand has been over-simplified for our snapchat brains. And once we do learn that the world is not divided into pure evil and innocent goodness, we First Worlders lose interest. Shame on us. Because, as the link points out: those girls are still being held captive just for going to school.

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