# Hashtags #

Since the launch of social media in recent years, many brands and companies have been able to reach out to their audiences directly through their social media accounts. However the social media universe is vast and with high volumes of followers and users it can be difficult for the company/brands to find the exact information they need from their audiences and markets.

The use of a # on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr allows these brands/companies to interact directly with their audiences and markets. For example the BRITS 2016 Awards are tonight and for the past few months their official Twitter account has asked the public to vote on who should win the British Artist Video award with the use of a the hashtag #BRITS followed by the name of the nominee’s music video for who they want to win e.g. #BRITBLACKMAGIC is you wanted Little Mix’s ‘Black Magic’ music video to win. Therefore when searching for these hashtags the BRIT Awards will only see information that it relevant to them, which is who has the most votes and then goes onto win the award.

Little Mix

By using a hashtag this gives the audience power as they are able to participate collectively with others. This can then often be used to create a force of power and help towards change if that is the overall goal, for example one of the most used hashtags at the moment is #Free Kesha. The singer and musician is looking to void her contracts with her producer – Dr. Luke – as claims have been brought to court that he has  “sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally abused” her to the point where she almost lost her life. Kesha’s fans are hoping that with enough power and support through social media the court will take it into account and void the contracts.Kesha

Do you think the use of hashtags truly gives us power or just the illusion that we have power if we use them?

 

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7 Comments

  1. Hashtags are an interesting concept that rely solely on audience participation to remain relevant. The fact they have found their way into multiple social medias as a way to track trends and categorise posts shows there is a general consensus that audiences are actively supporting their use unanimously. It very easy to see how if social media users stopped using hashtags, many sites would radically have to change their structure, particularly Twitter

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  2. Hashtags on social media have become so relevant now. If you think about it though, I don’t really see the actual point of them, but particularly for events or businesses or even individuals, the hashtags bring people together on social media like a community. It allows people to have a viral discussion, and see other peoples views on the matter at hand. This can be a positive thing and a negative thing. On the case of whether it gives you power or not, I think it very much depends on the situation at hand, and the subject being discussed.

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  3. I believe that hashtags on social media are a good example of audience participation, especially on shows like I’m a Celeb or X Factor where people show who they’re supporting and even vote using the hashtags. But when used for social change I think the hashtag does have power, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter educated people about the injustices happening all over the world and there is now a website dedicated to the cause and it was all built off the one hashtag.

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  4. With the #FreeKesha hashtag, and various others than are used to express opinions on social or criminal justice matters; what we gain from using them is less power and more solidarity and community. Our individually, or even collectively using #FreeKesha will make no tangible difference to Kesha’s situation, or to the court’s ruling. It does, however, create a community on social media – which perhaps in itself is powerful: not for Kesha necessarily, but for our collective stance on social justice.

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  5. Hashtag are brilliant concept. As we all know and as you have pointed out yourself, there are thousands upon thousands of topic discuss constantly through various social media platforms. A hashtag makes the experience not only convenient but as well as relevant among users. It enable them gaining more follower if they manage to create a well trending hashtag, engage in conversations in which they are able to share ideas images, videos or information and allows to connect and talk to others that share the same interest as you. So to answer your question does hashtag gives us power or illusion, I say power. People are able to create space where they have the ability to share similar interest, thoughts and information, without any outside influence or irrelevant user. The more trending the hashtag is the more power and popularity it gains.

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  6. Hashtags are a brilliant way of making the general public feel a part of a bigger community, in the same way YouTube has made them feel like they have a voice to share their thoughts. It brings people together under a common trending topic, like the band they vote for at the BRITS. This also works great for businesses in advertising as they are associating their brands with memorable campaigns and often fun ideas. I think, with regards to societal issues, hashtags definitely give people the power to make a message heard, spreading across social media and then sometimes pushing broadcast news to discuss the issue because everyone else is talking about.

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  7. This is really intresting because if you think about it, the hashtag is all about what an online community is about. The hashtags are all user generated and everyone can get a sense of what’s happening in the world by looking at the ‘whats trending’ tab on twitter!

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