May 25, 2024


The Internet Generation

Hashtag Activism, book review: A sign of the times


Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice • by Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles • MIT Push • 296 web pages • ISBN: 978–262-04337-three • $19.ninety five / £15.ninety nine

Past 12 months, an inveterate web observer named 2010 “peak cyber utopia”. That was the 12 months Western social media end users basked smugly in the belief that their technology had liberated several Arab nations from oppressive governments. Because then, we’ve discovered that social media was only a person of a lot of resources, not a lead to, viewed Western democracies undermine their very own democratic institutions, and arrive to realise that actually the web can’t do anything.

And nonetheless. It can be a person of the peculiarities of Twitter (in individual) and other social media that new movements can get form in full community look at though totally escaping the notice of all those whose bubbles don’t intersect them. In Hashtag Activism, Sarah J. Jackson, an affiliate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School, feminist scholar and ‘misogynoir’ coiner Moya Bailey, and Northeastern University affiliate professor Brooke Foucault Welles, inform the tales of a number of these movements, commencing in 2009.

Theirs is a scarce strategy these times these are the initially authors in a extended time who usually are not concentrating on system abuse. Their index has no entries for trolls, abuse, or bots.  

On Twitter, hashtags — basically, the # signal in front of a term — were the brainchild of person Chris Messina, not a element developed in by the site’s creators. Hashtags present a combination look for phrase and filter getting into a person into Twitter’s developed-in look for engine makes a live feed of anything anyone’s posting employing that hashtag. Individuals use it to share responses about conferences they’re attending, update breaking information, go over current developments, or, as in the situations these authors go over, make evidence and a social motion, as they did during Occupy and a great deal additional because. Though the authors mainly talk about Twitter, they accept that other social media — chiefly Facebook — are equally critical.

Entry all places

They commence by observing that social media affords racial minorities, women, transgender men and women, and “other individuals aligned with justice and feminist results in” new entry that was not offered by means of standard media. They then go into depth in six chapters showcasing the pursuing hashtags: #YesAllWomen, #MeToo, #FastTailedGirls, #YouOKSis, #SayHerName, #GirlsLikeUs, #OscarGrant, #TrayvonMartin, #Ferguson, #FalconHeights, #AllMenCan, and #WhiteWhileCriming. 

At least some of these should to be acquainted to any one who follows the information in mainstream media. Other folks may be unfamiliar, specifically to a British audience. I had not, for example, encountered #FastTailedGirls or #YouOKSis, which were made use of to make awareness of black feminism. Nor had I viewed #GirlsLikeUs, which the authors use as an example of local community making and advocacy, in this case for transgender women. 

Ultimately, #AllMenCan and #WhiteWhileCriming look at the way offers of allyship can change into appropriation. In their example, what started as white gentlemen providing to sign up for in opposing discriminatory policing by furnishing examples of instances when they were enable off evenly for infractions for which their non-white counterparts would have been additional severely punished, turned into a effectiveness of privilege. 

The authors do not suggest that on the net organising is ample by by itself to effect real social improve. But, they conclude, on the net issues. “Peak cyber utopia” may have to wait.

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