I've heard a few criticisms of what some have labeled, "hashtag activism." It's centered around the belief that it is a passive, lazy way to do something about an issue. So, I started to think about it and come to my own conclusion about it.
For me, I find some Facebook status posts to "Raise Awareness About Breast Cancer" to be less awareness-raising than some hashtags I've followed on Twitter. When someone posts a color or a location on Facebook with no other explanation, I cringe. When the person is asked what it's about it turns out that it is the color of the bra being worn or where the purse is sitting, respectively. So, when the "WTF?s" start rolling in, the answer is something like, "It's a game for Breast Cancer Awareness and you post the color of your bra or the place you put your purse."
Um, and what is this really doing for cancer awareness? And, do people really need to be made "aware of breast cancer"? I mean, I'm pretty sure at this point in the game, people are in the know about it. Wouldn't posting reminders to friends to do monthly exams; to schedule mammograms; and to see the gynecologist for regular checks do more for awareness? Or, how about posting links to places to donate money to research? Maybe encourage friends to donate their hair from their next haircut to organizations who make wigs for patients? I even know people who participate in different fundraising activities like races and walks for which they collect sponsors, so there's another option.
From what I've seen of hashtag use, it gets people thinking, talking, and/or researching the topic from the get-go. The hashtag isn't tweeted on it's own, with no other content like the bra color or the purse location. People usually make a statement on the topic. Sometimes a link accompanies it. But, if all goes right, the hashtag trends and brings the topic to more people, like #YesAllWomen did in light of the Santa Barbara shootings last weekend.
Hey, if someone like Rush Limbaugh criticizes it, I tend to think it must be something done right.