You could argue that the hashtag has become an epidemic. It has many uses such as being used in normal conversation, political action, sports and used to share am opinion on a TV programme or an event that may be trending. There are hashtags on advertising boards, advertisements on TV, the advertising boards at sports matches. The hashtag is simply everywhere! Hashtags are used on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Flickr. The hashtag can enable discussions to occur on Twitter, as well as co-ordinate individuals into groups.
In relation to co-ordination, Clay Shirky claimed that coordinating in large groups is very difficult and that the fewer people in the group the less complex the situation becomes when reaching an agreement. The use of hashtags enables activists to link strangers conversations together which is integral when trying to campaign, or vying for political action.
The use of ‘hashtags’ enables Shirky’s collective action to occur as the Twitter medium encourages conversations. As Shirky described the shared tag as a “stepping stone from one user to another” where it also added a social dimension to viewing pictures. Flickr and Twitter coordinates the individuals pictures rather than the individual coordinating themselves, thus making coordination easier. This could be useful in the campaign, as simply tweeting #saynotostudentloneliness can bring students together and lead to students helping each other via Twitter.
In addition to Shirky’s theories, the collective action occurs when a group of people commit themselves to undertake a particular effort together. The decision is made on binding individuals within the group. Collective action also creates a “shared responsibility” by binding the user’s identity to the identity of the group. The individual is part of something bigger than themselves. Collective action also includes challenges of governance, which is what happened during the Egyptian revolution. The use of Flickr and Twitter enables individuals to have shared interests collectively without difficulty and enables other users.
Applying the theory to the campaign, I have invented the hashtag #saynotostudentloneliess and I will hope the hashtag will be used by many students over the coming days as I am planning to spread the hashtag using networks such as Twitter.