June 2, 2021
By Falak Hafsa
In Sindh, #TharNeedsUniversity was initiated by Thar Academic Forum, to demand a university for the students of Thar. They put their efforts to try achieving their need and convenience the authorities.
This yielded results, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Chief Minister Sindh had to announce to open a university in Thar.
Bilawal Bhutto while announcing the university said, he was doing so on the demands of people of Thar. This was for the first time a most backward area, regularly hit by droughts used most modern method and technology to voice their demand. Though, this promise of ruler remains still to be fulfilled.
Later Thari youth used this tool with hashtag of #SaveKaroonjhar.
A few weeks back, #westandwithpalestine is shown in the headings to display unity with Palestine.
Digital Era which shifted the paradigm on the whole. If any unpleasant decision or act is done by the government, the nation has right to raise their voices using digital ways against it. At present, social media platforms are their weapons where people share their opinions by driving hash-tag strategy.
In early ages, monarchy was quite preferred and prevailed form of government which didn’t allow media and people to walk and talk freely. People used to did as they were directed and there was no freedom of expression given to them for holding government or government officials accountable for its actions.
# Hash-tag is totally different when it is used in social media context. Hashtag is a symbol which is familiar for you if you are the member of the social world. People make use of this hash-tag to highlight any injustice or unjust decision in the society by using the keywords with this sign.
This strategy is used to gather up all the voices or comments at one place. Social accounts commonly, Twitter, facebook and Instagram, uses this strategy widely to help people categorize and compile up an issue-related content.
This approach plays pivotal role in the society by bringing about changes and developing improvements through social media. Initially hash-tag introduced in 1988 at the internet Relay chat, to categorize images, messages and videos. It was first purposed by Chris Messina, a former Google designer, who gave the idea of using the hash-tags symbol (#) for make groups of different thoughts on twitter in 2007. In 2009, Twitter officially adopted it and highlighted this sign on its homepage in term of “trending Topics”.
Hash-tag allows and helps people to find posts which are relevant to their interest and interact with social media users who share same contents of interests. The most recent example of this strategy is #westandwithpalestine, trending in all over the world.
Moreover, hash-tag trending issue #blacklivesmatter is the best example that explicitly presents the power of hash-tag in the world. It was the highly trending subject on social media and majority of people all around the world took part in this campaign by posting their opinions and thoughts using their social handles. BLM (black lives matter) was international social movement started in 2013, fighting against racism and anti-black violence.
This trending issue got so much support from people through-out the world with their demand to equally provide, love and respect black breed just like brown and white individuals receive.
#metoo was another hashtag driven controversial subject in which celebrities were the main contributors. By using the power of hashtag to reveal the hidden areas and to bring big changes, these public figures shared their voices against harassment and disclosed how they became a victim of this crime. In result, women got courage to stand up and fight helplessly for them.
Considering the facts, 93% Pakistani women experience sexual violence in public places during their lifetime. Even #justiceforZainab was also a product of this #metoo movement, which demanded justice for victimized children against sexual abuse.
These examples show the power of hash-tag that how people can bring a change in society without any social and economic loss. Besides changes and progress, social media gives you an opportunity to independently voice your opinion and bring some developmental changes in country by highlighting the major issues and by bringing them in the notice of officials. As little efforts bring good changes so raise your voice and contribute in change by making such topics trending which are needed to be cognized.
Blogger is student of Media & Communication Department, University of Sindh