That time a hashtag saved somebody’s life? Not ever

hashtagHave you hashtagged your favorite cause today?

Yesterday’s trending hashtag was #notallwomen. This followed the California killing spree where a mentally deranged individual was upset that women wouldn’t pay attention to him.

While the issues that women have to deal with are serious and should cause concern, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the killer was mentally ill. It’s not a call for gun control or sensitivity training. It’s a mental health issue.

The cause, the issues are real. I’m not snarking at that. But how is a hashtag going to fix that?

When was the last time you used the hashtag #bringbackourgirls? They’re not home yet.

In the meantime, Ann Coulter (and I’m not a huge fan) got a good share of grief for tweeting #bringbackmycountry. In the end, what she got was publicity. Which, of course, is what she wanted.

But, other than to make us feel good, what’s the purpose of hashtag activism?

Hashtags are good for event following, or issue following, or for tagging Instagram photos so everyone sees when I take a picture of #rva. I use random hashtags myself to add an additional flair or snark to a status. I’m aware that to the hashtag purists I’m part of the problem. #sorry #not

The problem with hashtag activism is that while, yes, it does help raise awareness, it give us a false sense that we’ve actually done something tangible. Truth is, we’ve probably just taken a break from Words with Friends or Candy Crush to solve the worlds problems.

Then we went right back to our game.

Take it from someone who spent more than a couple of election cycles fighting (so he thought) the good fight on the Interwebs. If we really want to make a difference, we’ll volunteer our time, we’ll send our money. We’ll pray.

If a hashtag prompts people to do that, by all means, tag away. Just don’t let it stand in the way of taking some real action.

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