There’s no doubt that hashtag activism and awareness campaigns are becoming more and more #common.
The most recent ones flooding the Internet: #PrayForNepal to support earthquake victims and #PaintYourNailsForBruce that has men everywhere painting their finger nails in support of Bruce Jenner opening up about his transition.
And who can forget the #IceBucketChallenge? For days on end, news feeds were clogged with videos of folks dumping ice water over their heads to raise awareness (and money) for ALS.
Then, there are the less popular ones like #DontBeAnEggHead (an anti-bullying campaign where you crack an egg on your head), which are slowly making their mark.
But we have to ask ourselves: What is the end-all, be-all goal of these social movements? Do they really raise awareness and funds to support a cause, or are they just a trend for our post-modern, #selfie-obsessed society? The answer: It’s up to you to decide! Now, we can turn this entire blog post into a #SocialMovement about social movements, but let’s not get carried away.
One thing is certain: If celebrities and national leaders such as Barack Obama, AshtonKutcher and Lady Gaga are doing it, you better believe these #campaigns are solidifying American culture, despite differences in opinions or beliefs. We’ll consider this a #winwin.
It’s up to you to make social movements a valuable tool vs. a viral trend. Here are a few tips to make that happen:
- Be authentic. Don’t support a cause or event because it’s the popular thing to do, or even worse to gain followers or likes on social media. Support what you believe in.
- Make it personal. Inspire others through personal examples or experiences that show why you believe in this cause. You will find others feel the same way.
- Donate with caution. Carefully research the benefitting organization before making a donation. If you’re not able to make a monetary contribution, remember word of mouth is free and equally effective.
- Sharing is caring. Use the campaign hashtag and share it across social platforms to help grow the movement and connect you with other supporters.
- Get physical. Leave the technology behind and support the cause by volunteering, walking, painting, building or participating in any other activity that makes a difference. (But be sure to capture a pic and share it with the rest of us.)