In the news website the Debrief, there is an article named “How Clicktivism Really Can Help #BringOuGirlsBack”. Sophia Wilkinson, contributing editor, looks at how clicktivism through hashtags can change things.
One of the arguments Wilkinson makes is that celebrities posting pictures supporting campaigns is beneficial to creating a change. While I agree with her point that it becomes a viral talking topic, I don’t agree that a simple picture can bring about change.
The common people look to our leaders, celebrities, and influencers to actually make a visible change because those are the people in power. In these cases we should be utilizing all of our available resources to the full extent. Yes, celebrities and leaders fall under the category of resources because they have the ability (and resources) to do something about it. The average citizen is using hashtags because they don’t have the same power as leaders and celebrities. While I think even the average citizen can do more than a hashtag, I definitely do not agree that a celebrity posting a picture is enough to support such a movement or make a difference when they can do much more.
The second argument that Wilkinson makes is that even if someone with a prominent name just wants to jump the bandwagon and say something for publicity, it would be beneficial. I understand her rationale to an extent because yes, it does create a greater awareness. But is that all we want?
According to a Newsweek article, two years later not one of the abducted girls was rescued from the start of the campaign and only 57 have escaped on their own. If these girls are escaping on their own, why can’t the military, who is trained for sophisticated rescue operations, save them? Celebrities could support troops to prioritize this mission. 157 girls were still missing a year later, and the article claims that 219 remain missing two years later after the kidnapping.
If you think you are helping #bringthegirlsback through your hashtag and online content, you’re mistaken. The clicktivism campaign helped make the issue an international one and bring awareness to even A-listers. But even those A-listers have only stopped at the send of the hashtag.
Clicktivism can help spread awareness, but it can not create a change. If we want to make a real change in the world, we must be willing to go beyond our online platforms.