7 Hashtags That Prove Twitter Activism Can Change Human History
A mighty hashtag emerged days before Super Tuesday that threatens to blow the Republican presidential race wide open.
#NeverTrump is the decisive rhetorical weapon that establishment Republicans opposed to Donald Trump’s candidacy have been looking for.
“#NeverTrump is the unifying movement conservatives needed,” declared former Eric Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper on Medium. “Trending worldwide non-stop since it began. Writers like Matt Lewis, Jonah Goldberg, Stephen Hayes, [Erick] Erickson, [John] Podhoretz and [Bill] Kristol are all there. Early adapters like Rick Wilson, Liam Donovan and too many others to mention; legions of activists; bloggers and voters are shoulder-to-shoulder.”
The effect of #NeverTrump has already proved decisive. In polls before its emergence, Trump held a national lead of about 15 points. After the hashtag emerged and helped solidify GOP unity against Trump, Trump’s lead fell to 33 points.
Here are six other popular hashtags that changed the course of world history:
1. #BringBackOurGirls: The world, led by first lady Michelle Obama, rallied behind this anthem demanding the liberation of Christian Nigerian girls who were captured by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. The girls weren’t brought back, but they were later used as suicide bombers and sex slaves.
2. #WhichHillary: This hashtag took off after its appearance on a banner used by an activist who crashed a Hillary Clinton fundraiser. Users of the hashtag bashed Clinton’s shifting political views by contrasting her earlier opinions with more modern ones. The biting satire of the hashtag highlighted Clinton’s inconsistency and invited a contrast with her more consistently progressive presidential opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
After the hashtag’s emergence, Hillary obliterated Sanders in South Carolina’s Democratic primary, making her victory in the primary race a near-certainty.
3. #Kony2012: This hashtag was concocted by the group Invisible Children and was intended to rally global opposition to Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony with the intent of having him captured by the end of 2012. A video accompanying the hashtag campaign got over 100 million views and he became, at least temporarily, a household name. The U.S. Senate even passed a resolution condemning him.
Currently, Kony remains at large. Also, one of the campaign’s leaders was arrested for masturbating in public.
4. #BanBossy: Everybody from Condoleezza Rice to Beyoncé to Sheryl Sandberg got on board this effort to encourage women to show leadership by trying to abolish the label “bossy,” which is supposedly used to belittle assertive women.
Currently, bossy is not banned.
5. #OccupyWallStreet: This hashtag was adopted by the thousands of protesters who descended on lower Manhattan to protest against Wall Street in 2011 and demand vague, undefined changes. The “Occupy” label was adopted by sister protests across the country that came together demanding widespread systemic reforms in the American economy.
Eventually, police broke up the Occupy camp in Zuccotti Park before they settled on a clear set of actual demands.
6. #JesuisCharlie: Meaning “I am Charlie,” this hashtag was used millions of times across the globe to show solidarity with the French magazine Charlie Hebdo and opposition to Islamic terrorism. Cowed by the overwhelming condemnation of their deeds, Islamic terrorists responded by launching a massive attack on Paris that killed 130 people.
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