This paper aims to discuss and highlight the importance of hashtag trends on social media that developed a new sort of wave in the ongoing media activism. Media activism is the category of activism for activists to organize and arrange campaigns and protests to divulge on social and political injustices. These are mainly organized through the different social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube etc., where maximum people can be reached at a very short time without moving to a different state or country. Media activism is a vital component as it does not show the mainstream media content which is viewed by the public or which is ought to be viewed by the public but it shows the censored contents which are restricted to a section of the society. The millennial era has become an active participant in the movements. Through various others activism such as hashtag activism and video activism it has become very easy and convenient to reach out to the people. The usage of social media to further the approach of activism plays the huge role in the category of media activism. As social media is the new culture, people have considered it as the ultimate source of information regarding news or as such any other issue. Media has helped us to interact with various people residing in various parts of the globe, this has also developed a sense of togetherness and also has brought a change to the observation of a person towards the world. Media activism has brought a social perspective change which is possible due to the hashtag activism which are very much useful to bring a reform.. Through the different methods of social media activism we understand how blogging has helped to see the world from another’s experience. The share and viewer option in the social media platforms have helped in the growth of people in need and how the media activism and social media is the need of the hour.
Key words– Activism, social media, hashtags, movements, technology, blogging, society.
The media has evolved with the passing of time. Though in the initial days it was considered as a negative factor. It was debated whether it will be useful for the benefit of the people or not. Yet, the media and the technological growth has never stopped and has evolved with each passing years and now people can easily access information in comparison to the older times. Media is widely spread as Print, radio, television or Internet. Among which the print media was the most used in the earlier times where newspapers and hand-written articles were the main source of information available for the public. But the scope of news was rather limited, as in the news were local and to some extent regional only. With the advancement of technologies, the popularity of print media has decreased now. According to a report, where it was being observed that print media earned $44.9 billion from ads in the year 2003 which has lowered down to $16.4 billion in 2014.With the passage of time the print media has lost its charm as internet has taken over its popularity.
Next in line was the radio news which began in the 1920s. Radios gained a lot of attention as the shows where in audio format where people started finding humor, education and knowledge through the radio. Almost all the people used to listen to radio, it had phenomenal popularity among the public. Even today, radio is an important source of Information for the people residing in the rural areas who do not have access to the internet and are least exposed to the digital environment.
The main growth was taken up by the television industry, as television was a replacement for both print media as well as radio. Though the radio was still prevalent during the television world, yet it was being replaced by the heavy broadcast of shows and news on the television. Television became a huge success as during the 60s and 90s the President of United States gave his speeches on the television. These grew a speculative trend among the people and they became more and more engrossed on the televisual side. However, this did not last long as the world is a changing place where people try to adopt new things everyday hence a thing only lasts till the time a better alternative is introduced.
Soon India was exposed to the revolutionary world of internet. The Internet era brought a 360° change in the life of the people. Everything was handy and one click away. Everything could be done in one go without putting much effort into it. The Internet replaced the popularity of television. People started watching, recording and spreading information to one another very easily and without much delay. The citizens were more interested in watching shows and other programmes rather than the speech of the President. President Barack Obama was the first person to completely adopt to the social media culture. As the culture was adopted the President and his citizens also tried to find ways to adopt the new culture.
With the advancement of the media, came the social media era where people use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as a tribune to showcase their outlook towards the society. Citizen journalism is the term used to signify the journalistic process which is vested in the hands of the people and they are free to capture the social world and post it in the Internet. It can be clearly seen that though the print media is relatively cheaper than electronic and social media, but still the millennia chooses to believe the information on online sources which indirectly cost higher. While the newspaper provides the same information and precisely more relevant, still the growing market demands e-news or electronic Media as the genuine source of information and resources.
People have come a long way into the media advancements where every necessity is a click away. Whether its buying something from the Internet or creating awareness or organizing meetings and associations the technology and media have collaterally become a primary reason for the change in the world. Whether its emailing or using Facebook as a medium for protests and sharing of opinions. The social media site change.org is widely used for protests and activisms through the method of signing the petition. Hence, the media technology and social media is interconnected and are inter dependent on each other for the growth of the society. People have widely accepted the new reforms and amendments in the country. The news and entertainment can range from local to National to International as well. The choices of the media are wide and tremendous.
Media Activism :
Media activism has emerged as a platform for the nationalist movement which also grabs the attention of the people. Individuals come together to join hands of pertinent social, economic and political loopholes to bring a change to the society. These changes are not static and keeps changing from time and again. Social media is the parental body to the various societal movements. These movements have evolved and helped setting an example for the public. People have acclaimed that they have faced problems which could be solved through social media help and support. The support provided were mentally, emotionally and financially helpful. These efforts and supports have caused people come forward with their issues and difficulties that they have not been discusssing or disclosing for some reasons. Hence the media activism and the social media activism both walk collaboratively in order to bring a change in the society.
Media Activism : A guide
Media activism talks about the activism which is carried out in the media and other technologies, and is used as a tool for bringing out the social and political movements which happen across the world. It is a widespread phenomenon as it is the most convincing and convenient way of protesting and putting forward views among the people which might be proved a causative factor for the public at large. Media has acted as a thread in between the people and the World. This thread is not only evident in the difficult time of Pandemic situation across the globe, where people cannot go outside due to restrictions on local and International movement, the media has acted as a efficient source of information for the citizens where the people can rely on the media for the genuine information and newscast which are a primary source of information for the modern world. Starting from the medical situation to the various movements happening around, Media has played a wider role in the recent development. Facebook, twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp are some of the very famous platform of media activism, as these social media platforms are widely used by every individual without an age-bar. The news and information are easily passed on from one person to another without any actual movement or shift. In the 21st century where every issue has an impact on every person, the act of media activism has grown radically. Social media plays a crucial role in the active participation of people in the media activism. As it is being observed that the people prefer online protests rather than offline protests and it has caused wide responses from the public’s end.
It’s evident that there are different methods of media activists which includes “publishing news on websites”. As we can understand in the modern household where the world is moving forward everyday, reading and carrying newspapers has become obsolete as it is extremely convenient for a self-standing individual to search the news on the media. The extreme use of the social media can be observed in the millennial world as the maximum usage of the different platform grown among them. There are different ways and means for the media activism one of which can be publishing news on websites. It is proven to be the most used method in the recent times, as it is easily accessible to the people with less effort, as people can get the news no matter where they are and also These news are Not only from the local angle but also from the public sphere which includes news which are both national and International. publishing news on website grows awareness among the people as they can notice the discrepancies in the society.
The next method is “creating videos and audios investigation”, This can be another effective method as these videos and audios can reach maximum number of people as we know that videos are the efficient method to attract the potential attention towards a subject which is being ignored or unseen by the people. The other method can include “blogging” which is a well-organized and structured based approach which contains a writer’s experiences, coherent understandings, knowledge and opinion on a subject matter. These blogs helps us grow a perspective which is based on the other’s experience and understanding and their approach to the situation. Blogs are attempted to reach the views of maximum public in order to understand the reaction of a person on a particular topic. Blogs can be considered as a open diary of person’s daily life.
Other than this we can see that the media activism can be used for other purposes which can be showing news which are not shown by the media on the public basis or the news which are not publicly disclosed and considered censored as it might contain some illicit content that are politically motivated and also could hurt the sentiments of the society. Another method can be cultural jamming, the cultural jamming can be referred to as creating pictorial depictions and satirical imagery and ideas which questions the contemporary scenario and represents the viewers to question the normal state of things. These help people to understand the social and political conditions of the country and where the government is leading to with respect to the welfare and benefits of the people. The news channels mainly look over the cultural jamming to criticize the policies of the government. Every way we can infer that social media plays an important role in the spread of media activism. According to Victor de Mazal, “Social media has helped us organize without having leaders”which clearly indicated that social media is the brother of media activism as both of them go hand in hand and coexist. Social media has united people across the world to come together and interact to form associations without the help of a leader or even an upper hand.
In the past few years, WhatsApp has also being developed and used for the media activism platform as now it has been enhanced with the group call and message options which is an excellent opportunity for the provenance reach a message to maximum users at a very short time with the option to share and send options which is open to all and allow every person to spread a news in fraction of seconds. Contrary to the modern contemporary world, In the earlier years it was difficult to reach such a huge population at a single time because of the less technological advancement, people would only be exposed to the local community and culture which was limited to some. After the commencement of the various forum manifestations the information are wide-ranging because of the huge popularize nature among the public media activism where the rally and protests on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc., are a common ground. To develop the sense of knowledge and education, media has grown radically in the form of study such as Journalism and news media. Media activism generally makes a person form his own opinion over the media where a person would be able to start a protest and campaign which is a helping hand to the people.
Social media activism : A global phenomenon.
It is a known fact that social media is the greatest provenance of the media activism. It plays a very vital role in the procedure of activism, wherein it is observed in the recent times that social media and activism are hard to differentiate and both are collateral to each other especially after the usage of Facebook in the country since 2010, where people connect with each other on a maximum level. Social media since then has played a major role in the public awareness and public welfare in the modern contemporary era, social media is the primary source of information, no matter how irrelevant or grave importance the news carries, social media can be advantageous and extracting if used appropriately. On the very recent note, an Instagrammer who used the tribune to promote a small-business run by two elderly couples residing in Delhi. The video attracted millions of views and shares which created an awareness about it. Later it was seen that business caught attention of the people, who visited the place and helped the couple financially which was a boon to them. It is time and again proved how the social media has acted as a useful source of social support among the people if used bonafide.
Social media is the craze in the contemporary society, where the group of people can interact and share views and opinions virtually without meeting in real life, that’s the reason social media is considered as a bridge between people living poles apart. After the various incidents and changes in the law enforcements and amendments in the country, the social activism among the individuals are expressed by using hashtags. Hashtag activism is also a form of social media activism in which is used in the Internet to gather people with the same motive. The hashtag activism is also a form of protest against the irrationality approach. Twitter’s and Facebook’s hashtags are the most popular feature of the internet. Hastings are used to signify various initiatives and steps which are spread across the globe. Some of the widely used hashtags are, #metoo, #Lovewins, #blacklivesmatter #dresslikeawoman #heforshe #SaveDU #aintnocinderella. Each hashtag signifies a specific purpose.
#metoo represented those individuals who have faced sexual harassment at any given place. It referred to sexual abuse committed by powerful and influential men. It gave a voice to the voiceless. It gained maximum followers when Harvey Weinstein in 2017 used the hashtag to speak about the sexual abuse allegations. The US based film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting about dozens of women in the last 2 decades including actresses such as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cara Delevingne. The others including Salma Hayek, Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow are among dozens of women who came forward with the rape and sexual harassment allegations by Harvey Weinstein. According to his statements he has admitted that his behaviour has caused problems and pains to others though he has referred the allegations as “patently false”. The spokesperson on his behalf also stated that there was never any kind of non-consensual sex against the complainants.
On February 24, 2020, Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual harassment even after the news flashed about his reputation in the industry. He was sentenced to 23 years of imprisonment. The #metoo caused a wide range of protest among the women to bring about their problems and helped them to come out and express about the situations which they have faced. These helped many women who could not talk about the sexual abuse which they have faced but were uncomfortable to discuss.
Next is the #Lovewins was used when the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) was recognized with the individual status in the society. It was widely used and still is in use by the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram users. It signifies itself when the Supreme Court of the United States where the bench passed a judgment in favour of marriage equality with the 5-4 decision, after the judgment being passed it made the same -sex marriage legal in the 50 states in America. The hashtag was initiated by President Barack Obama who supported the decision in his tweet. In respect to India, on September 2019, The Apex court of India scrap down a portion of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code,1860 which talks about unnatural offences where a person who is voluntarily having carnal intercourse with a man, women or animal which is against the natural process would be Imprisoned for life or a 10 years or fine or both. Hence, as it was against the human rights of a person, the colonial era rule was taken down allowing intercourse between consenting same-sex partner. The judgment of 5 judges along with Justice Dipak Mishra is considered to be a landmark judgment not only because of the status which is given to the LGBTQAI community which constitutes around 136 million of the population but also considering the facts other than just decriminalizing gay sex and marriages.
This reform was proved to be widely accepted in the world as people were overwhelmed by the decision of the Supreme Court. This created a sense of togetherness and acceptance of the people and the norm which was a taboo earlier. As the world celebrated the scrapping of the colonial era law, the blacks were losing their lives in US due to the racial discrimination. #blacklivesmatter was the hashtag which was formed in 2013 whose aim was to protect the lives of the Black people or any kind of violence which was caused to them. The blacks were the people who suffered excessively from the racial discrimination even in the millennial world. With everyday progress and enhancement still lies a corner where discrimination on such basis still prevails. The hashtag #blacklivesmatter started after the death of the African American teen Trayvon Martin in 2012. Since then the crime did not stop but then the movement returned to a wider attention after the killing of George Floyd, which grew the sense of integrity among the people and the popularity shifted from time to time which ultimately led to making black lives matter one of the most popular movements in the history of the United States.
Speaking of the mind-set of the people, brought the hashtag #dresslikewomen the movement which created a rage among the women when a report was published that alleged President Donald Trump to instruct his women staffs to “dress like a woman”. This made the statement turned hashtag among the women of US when they started representing their own perspective of the dress code which according to them was their choice of attire. After which started the #heforshe movement which was initiated by Emma Watson and Justin Trudeau. As we all seek to have the equality between men and women and the notion among the people is that the concept of feminism is only for women. The UN movement brought a change in the scenario when both men and women actively participated in the campaign which was considered to be a women’s thing. People from different eminent countries took part in the campaign which included United States of America, Mexico etc.
Women are considered to be some strongest individuals across the globe who can when required, cook and if the situation demands can alone start a protest. One such example is #SaveDU which was initiated by Gurmehar Kaur against the BJP students wing, APVP who created a violence in the Ramjas College, Delhi University after the lectures of two professors were cancelled by the goons of the BJP “gundagardi”. Though she received numerous trolls and threats she did not call off the protest. This reflected a scenario of protest among the students of Delhi University.
As evident most of the movements were started by women to bring a change in the society. One such example is the #AintNoCinderella which became trending on Twitter on 2017 when women started posting their pictures in a night out which slammed the claims which stated that the cause of rapes and assaults were women going out during the night. One of the significant remarks came from the defendant lawyer of the Nirbhaya case who stated that the case of the rape was her going out at the late hour and the other was her dress code, other comments were BJP’s comment on the Varnika Kundu case where she was blamed yet again for going out so late at night.
Comparative analysis :
Media activism has been an active factor among the youth. It is a standing platform for the millennials to organize and arrange social and political movements so that they can protest and create awareness in the society which can bring about the change in the developing and the already developed countries. With comparison to China, China has very strict laws in especially in respect to the censorship. The youth of China have used alternative methods to continue the social and political movements which is known as “The River Crab critique”, in which cultural jamming is used to as a depiction to indirectly criticize the government. They keep in mind that the views expressed are not censored by the government so that it can reach the maximum number of people.
In the United States, the media activism plays a very vital role and has been prevailing since long. There ha been numerous protests over the time and the people actively participate in such movements which are believed to be against the social and political system. People have abolished decades old rules through wars whether online or offline. These reforms have brought about a huge change in the system of the country. Media activism is very much prevalent in the millennials of the United States where the protests using hashtags and other means of protest. Social media act as a boon to the citizens and also help them to understand the various issues in the World. Media activism acts as a digital tool to the point where entire campaigns can run and organized online which have a huge impact on the people. Media and social media activism are an important thing in the Country to bring about a change in the country’s development.
After understanding the entire meaning and usage of the media activism in the millennial world, it is easily understood that the world has grown since the advancement of the media structure have let to various reforms and amendments to the citizens. These media activism has mainly served its purpose as a benefit for creating potential solutions to the problems occurring due to several reasons. Social media activism is the main form of media activism as it contains the other aspects which play a very important factor in the changing role of society. The modern contemporary era has adopted itself with the new policies which might bring a change to the mainstream society. Media activism has helped to grow various cultures which have prevailed but remained unnoticed or have not been discussed at a larger platform. Usually, these are the norms and the cultures which are considered as taboo in the society. The hashtag activism has brought many people together to join hands in a single movement. Women, men and others have joined hands to protest for a similar motive. These gestures have been found to bring the unity and integrity in the society. The social media activism is the most common gesture which is prevalent in the recent times, people across the globe connect with each other and share the similar opinions which further reaches to more audiences.
The different methods like blogging and audio video investigations have helped a topic reaches maximum followers and understanding the importance of change. Media activism as shows the news which are not mainstream media has a fear of being hijacked as these data may leak certain information which might cause defamation of certain people. It all depends on the flow of the social media that where the ship is sailing as in the Black lives matter organization was created in 2013, 7 years from now but has gained its popularity in the very recent incident of killing of George Floyd after which the social media had a huge rush to talk about the matter of concern. Even mental health is a topic of grave concern but people pay heat to it only when something wrong happens until then no one worries or gets concerned about the matters. Hence it can be very well inferred that the social media and the millennials have adopted the ideas and changes according to the demand of time.
These media activists have been very much active about bringing a change in the society, to view the society in a different matter which is free from all the taboos and evil practices which cause a lifelong impact on a person’s life and identity. Through the help of the laws and regulations, these social media activisms have gained their strength in bringing out the greatest challenges before the society. Hence, this is how the modern contemporary world links the media activism and the millennial era.
- Indian Penal Code, § 377 (1860)
- http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts -41580010.
 Michael Barthel, Newspaper : Factsheet, The Evolution of the Media (Oct. 13, 2020, 5:31 PM)
 Tony Rogers, Understanding Citizen Journalism, Thoughtco. (Oct. 13, 2020, 6:45 PM)
 Reuters, Social media spreads and splinters Brazil protests, Reuters (Oct. 14, 2020 9: 49 AM)
Navtej Singh Johar &Others v. Union of India, Thr. Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice (SCC) WP (Crl. ) 76/2016, Pg. No. 1- Introductory, Pg. No. 65-74 -Transformative constitutionalism and the rights of LGBT community[p. 79, para. 121]