SCRAWL S11E11 How to be an activist in 140 characters #slacktivism

By January 29, 2015Scrawl Radio

Good morning Scrawl Nation!

What’s trending nowadays? #Facebookdown? #BellLetsTalk? #collegefession?

Social media is a melting pot of the comical, the serious, and everything in between. Last Friday Scrawlers took a look at the hashtags of activism. When did hashtags go from a “tag for a trend” to a place for political discussion?

Scrawl would like to thank the Edge Program students for observing the show last week!

Scrawl would like to thank the Edge Program students for observing the show last week!

Those rhetorical strategies we learned in high school aren’t just reserved for English class! Rima highlighted the pathos element of “I am mike brown” in the national response to the violence in Ferguson, MO.  The first person pronoun relates the audience (or in this case, user of the hashtag #iammikebrown) to the person(s) in the hashtag, making the issue more personal than any other favorited or retweeted hashtag.

(Listen below!)

Mariah brought up a good point, that the personalized hashtags could also bring criticism. One blogger criticized people who used the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (“I am Charlie”)  after the shootings of satirical cartoonists in Paris. The writer said people could condemn the violence in Paris, but it wasn’t realistic to say they shared the experience.

(Listen to Mariah below!)

Brandon added to the complexity of hashtag activism by introducing the idea that hashtags converse with each other and evolve. The hashtag #yesallwomen superceded #notallmen, and Scrawlers observed that negative vs. positive language impacted the success of a hashtag. This discussion brought up the greater question of: what makes a good hashtag? The answer was in precise and careful writing, much like how we encourage writers in the UCWbL!

(Listen to Brandon below!)

Rima explained that through the hashtag #yesallwomen, a conversation about feminism ensued that absorbed many different discussions, not just the shooting that it originated from. 

(Listen to Rima below!)

Scrawlers ended the show by looking at all these different elements at play in the movement #bringbackourgirls, the response to the abduction of almost 300 young girls by the Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram.

(Listen below!)

Writing plays a role in all disciplines, especially in activism and media! Thanks for listening to Scrawl Radio, reminding you to “put it in writing!”

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Rachel P. says:

    I love that you guys address the use of hashtags for political discussions! I find the subject fascinating, and I loved hearing your thoughts about it.