#BringBackOurGirls: Hashtag Activism Is Cheap–And That’s a Good Thing


“Where are the stolen girls of Nigeria? And why don’t we care more?” the BoingBoing.net asked on April 30th, two weeks after more than 300 girls were kidnapped from their school dormitory in Nigeria. The next day, a group of African American women on Twitter wondered what the coverage would look like if hundreds of white girls had gone missing: “There’d already be a Lifetime movie in the works.”

Seven days later, virtually no news-consuming person in the West could be ignorant of the story, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan had been forced to commit more resources toward the search, and the U.S., France, and the U.K. had all promised aid as well.

What changed in those seven days?

The unserious-sounding but ultimately serious answer seems to be: a hashtag campaign.

#BringBackOurGirls started in Nigeria on April 23rd by desperate parents and activists who didn’t believe their president when he said…

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