Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Of #hashtag activists

Dear Activists,

Perhaps I have never really understood how activism works, you see I am just a journalist.

It disturbs me each day when I recall how 276 girls were kidnapped in Nigeria, something that took the world about 3 weeks to notice.

Over lunch a few weeks ago I mentioned to a friend how I was at a complete loss following the overflow of "Hash tag activism" that even got the attention of #Flotus among many other leaders locally and internationally.

But several weeks later, only 50 girls gave been reunited with their families,  (I hope to God that it is true) leaving 226 still missing. The offial number communicated in 219 girls still missing, I don't know what happened to the 7.

Now the world has gone silent on #bringbackourgirls.

If this doesn't call for change of tack in the world of activism,  then you should hang your brand new boots because there's no *walking* on those twitter streets.

Once upon a time, Noise = Activism,  but the world has changed since then.

The same strategy Cleopatra used to win over Kings and Kingdoms isn't what Angela Merkel would use woo anyone anymore,
no one bathes in milk and honey anymore.

However, I agree that there are forms of activism, depending on sector, target market and agenda that twitter could do well in, saying calling for calm, or in the case of the Arab spring, connect and create a unified front for citizens.

We will not find the missing #Malaysianflight on those lean 140 word streets.

I believe I can safely say, and I hope you can agree with me; that Twitter hashtags will not #bringbackourgirls nor #FreePeterGreste.

In Kenya though, they will make your posterior trend,  worldwide. I digress,  like a true a Kenyan.

The New age activists will have to go back to the drawing board and find intriguing and fresh ways of creating social change in the Social Media world to reflect current trends, here at home and please do check across the pond as well.

Sigh.Just a few words from a #hashtagaddict

Yours in respect,

Terryanne Chebet.

PS: picture attached was forwarded to me via WhatsApp. If you created it I'd like to attribute it to you, please send a message. 


  1. I think this kind of activism works if you state what action should be taken and by whom. The person the hashtags are directed to feels the pressure.

    But if you start something like #occupyparliament or Bring back our girls then none takes action. You are not exerting any action on an individual or specific group of people. So it does not work.

  2. Terry i feel you and i ones tweeted,activism requires real factual ventures and as you have said there are things that hashtags can't do. the case of bring back our girls is unfortunate.however maybe the truth has been known.a few Nigerian friends of mine,one told me the abduction of the girls was state managed by the Nigerian govt so that they may get world support in fighting bokoharam,which to some extend they achieved.close govt sources of Nigeria the girls are safe and that's when there were arranged demonstrations,Nigerian authorities dispersed the demonstrators