Lovely Chetia, Advocate, Tinsukia Bar Association: Awareness is always the key to change and change begins with the first step of self-awareness. Start of 21st century it is: O! How well do we know about hashtag? Asha asked Rita. Rita, coming from a very remote village, may be unable to understand the cause and effect of the changing global trend. She has to very careful to explain her about the much spelled word. Asha now draws attention of Rita by showing her the cell phone (most available device in trend to explain).
Hashtag is just a symbol. It came into existence in 14th century. According to dictionary Hashtag’s officially name is the ‘octothorpe’ a name having invented by telephone technician when they added the symbol to telephone keypads. It wasn’t hashtag until its usage became popular on social media.
Asha asked again, if, Rita has come across incidence of teasing, harassment or any other like forms. Rita replied that she has just come out of her comfort zone and everything may be new to her except household problem. She replied that she might not go to statistics now, but brings up some incidence that will surely help her understand the world around and make her aware about the present global use of hashtage.
The story of hastag found its place more often of the “Me too” movement. The movement in India is a manifestation of the international Metoo that is currently taking place in parts of Indian society including government offices, media houses and the Bollywood industry. It is a campaign against sexual harassment of women at work place. As I had already told that I ‘am not going with statistics as you will be astonished by its number and the harsh truth which lies beyond. The founder of the movement was Tarana Burke in 2006. The movement is always superseded with the symbol ‘Hastag’. Interestingly what started as a simple tweet has grown to a global phenomenon and a symbol of resistance against sexual harassment. Now MeToo has completed one year. Every newspaper, social networking sites has sparked light globally about this movement. These are the positive dark side of hashtag use.
On a lighter note, people use to highlight their message of interest and discovery by them. A hashtag starts with a symbol and is followed by word or words without spaces. The symbol has trended in atleast 85 countries. Communicating similar experiences and sharing feelings in some form of togetherness connects people and can lead to formulate a process of collective action.
Hashtag has gained popularity especially among youth. A huge mistake we see is people using hashtag where majority barely have 100 (approx) posts associated with them. People or brands can also fall victim to a serious hashtags fails. As a matter of fact there’s a lot that can go wrong in the space of one simple hashtag. It may also seem innocuous, but humans are filthy minded bunch. So, before we decide we must always take a moment to research the term we are using. Although campaigning is much organised, they fail to make perceptible impact on a larger scale. People must use effective sense in social media. So that it actually fulfil the cause. Otherwise it will just be a speedup gear on our screen ignoring important facets of life. It will be more like, eating pizza or burger in a lavish restaurant. This is a new phase of social networking and we should relentlessly struggle for it.
We live in a world that claims to give men and women equal rights and where several laws have been made to protect women, their rights and dignities. There was a time when man, in his arrogance and self-pride, had kept women deprived of their basic rights. Mass media can truly help in bringing awareness on important issues. But we must always remember that social media platforms are interconnected. These hashtag usages must be reviewed on all potential platforms to avoid communication blunders. Rita thanked Asha with a sweet smile for making her know the unknown.