What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is an easy way for people to categorize, find and join conversations on a particular topic. The hashtag is used to highlight keywords or topics within a Tweet, and can be placed anywhere within a post.
Hashtags are a predominant way online communities who are interested in a certain topic, idea, or issue build capacity. They prove invaluable for cataloguing following up-to-the-minute news about an issue or campaign, and are a concise way to capture large complex topics in order to spread awareness and/or mobilize action.
Create and craft interesting and rhetorically purposeful hashtags
Learn how to advocate for issues and causes through social media
Think Critically about twitter campaigns
Analyze what makes hashtags effective and meaningful
Reflect on the role of hashtag activism in spreading awareness, engagement and participation
Things to think about
In Their Shoes
Ask Students to imagine themselves in the position of the person who creates hashtags to advocate for a cause. They could start by discovering how others use twitter as a professional tool to advocate or market products or ideas.
The Art of the Perfect Hashtag
Ask Students to consider the mechanics of creating spreadable hashtags for advocacy purposes. This includes thinking through and breaking down the creative decisions that go into the construction of social network campaigns, and how things "go viral".
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Like most things on the internet, it is hard to maintain focus and attention on an issue over a longer period of time. Ask students to think through or reflect on hashtags that they didn't know or soon forgot about.
Key Questions to Ask
What was the purpose of this Tweet?
Think about intention, design, and structure of the message itself.
Why was this Tweet sent?
Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.
How might people understand this tweet differently without the real hashtag?
Context will change messaging, intention, and audience reception.
Did my hashtag communicate my purpose effectively?
Were my intentions the same as the audiences that viewed this hashtag?
What creative techniques are used to attract attention?
Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
What communities or ideas does this hashtag advocate for or support?
Media make up the fabric of civic life, and information is at the core of community dialog.
Who has access to twitter? And more importantly, who doesn’t?
Wide access to diverse information is important for democracy.