For this culture module, my task was to learn about hashtag activism. With my group, we split the tasks into different topics, such as history, analyzing social media, and current impact. My hope for this project was to learn the history and understand the abstract idea behind the hashtag.
My first approach to this was attempting to use TAGS and follow a hashtag about Donald Trump, because who isn’t talking or complaining about Trump these days? I copied the Google spread sheet and put in #Trump to follow; however I was unable to execute the program. However, I did look into the developer of TAGS, Martin Hawksey, and he has built his own network on his Google page, Twitter, and through his blog. Through his chain of networks, he opens up other chains of networks of similar display, such in Google+ or Twitter, what Hawksey follows or is a member of, others have access to those links and so on, thus creating a web of overlapping connection on social media.
My next approach was reading the article The History of Hashtags in Social Media Marketing, by Shea Bennett. The article surprised me a bit with its material. The article made it simply seem that the hashtag was just a convenient symbol that designers just thought to throw on group conversations or how deep relationships between customers and businesses went. The other article I read was #NotYourAsianSidekick Is Great. Now Can We Get Some Real Social Change? by Kai Ma. One post by a 23-year-old evolved into a mass of voices in support of her tweet.
The internet, hashtag, and other symbols of social symbols have allowed people to join movements and groups that they can relate to I have come to learn that social media and the hashtag provide not just a place where people may vent their frustrations, but also a place where a concept my come together as a collective whole.