Does Hashtag Activism Actually Work?

Tall. Black. One Sugar

There are some times on social media when I can really see the value of hashtags as a means of creating some kind of social activism. To create awareness for causes. To rally political change in places that, one assumes, don’t have a voice. However I remain somewhat cynical as to the real impact of such activism. Does it really make change? Is it an easy way out of actually not doing anything? What is the bigger picture?

My first foray into hashtag activism came about after the riots in 2011. The widespread reaction to the police in London, and further afield, after the shooting of Mark Duggan, shocked many people. Seeing neighbourhoods destroyed sparked a #CleanUpLondon campaign where people took the streets to repair the damage being done. A subsequent #NotInMyName campaign followed where young people wanted to distance themselves from this behaviour and culminated in a visit to…

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