|Image from Wikimedia Commons|
#Litterati helps communities because it makes picking up trash a social experience. It encourages people to take on the issue of pollution in their community. More than 70,000 pieces of trash have been picked up since the start of this movement. The impact has been even larger than that because of the trash cans that have been put in by cities. This is one step closer to a pollution free world. Lots of topics are controversial, but I can't see anybody being opposed to that. The #ALSicebucketchallenge makes a difference on an even larger scale. Everyone with ALS is affected by this because it gives them an overwhelming amount of support. Donating to ALS research can help cure this disease, and that is what so many people have now done.
According to Jeremiah Owyang, there are more than 2 million videos on YouTube related to the ice bucket challenge, with many other related posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. That is how enormous the movement has gotten. Every single one of those people now have at least some idea of what ALS is, and it sparks an idea that they have an obligation to help people less fortunate than themselves. Some videos, particularly the example below, were made by people actually suffering from ALS who took the opportunity to educate others on the importance of raising money for research. The world needs more movements like this, more ways to make it easy and fun for people to get involved.
Anthony Carbajal, diagnosed with ALS at age 26
People who disagree with me would say that dumping some ice on your head doesn’t make you a good person or change the world at all. They would ask "what in the world does this have to do with ALS??" They would also refer to the #stopKony movement in which many people donated to an organization that promised to do just what the hashtag says. Joseph Kony is a man who ordered the abductions of more than 60,000 children. However, more than a third of the money was used to fund promotions and pay salaries. Kony remained a powerful man for a long time. Howard Kurtz from the Daily Download said “The internet is far better at enlightenment than enforcement,” meaning it lets people know what’s going on, but they don’t have any motivation to do anything about it. He said this referring specifically to the Stop Kony movement.
Dumping ice on your head may not make you a great person, but donating to ALS research is definitely a great way to make a difference. That is what many people ended up doing. In fact, since the ice bucket challenge started, donations to ALS research have averaged $35 per second! I thought that was absolutely astonishing. Over the course of 28 days, there was a total of 85 million dollars donated to the cause. The video above is one that very nearly made me cry. I would recommend that you watch it just to see what kind of effect the Ice Bucket Challenge has had. To some, it has nothing to do with the donations. The millions of videos give those with ALS so much hope and happiness. The feeling of being loved and cared about is almost overwhelming for many of these people. Now to talk about the #Litterati movement. Nobody has anything bad to say about this, because there is nothing bad to say! There is no doubt that it has and is continuing to make a difference. Who could possibly be against a cleaner, healthier earth? That’s right. Not a single person. As for the #stopKony movement, it did little to help catch the man, but it did provoke people to try to make a change. This was the point of the movement, and it was the organization’s fault that it didn’t help as much as it could’ve. According to the National Post, 48 hours after the Kony video was posted, the organization had received a total of 5 million dollars in donations. All of that income should've been used for a better purpose, such as funding the people that were trying to stop Kony. The movement had such good intentions and so many people believed in it. It really did spark something in people’s minds, and they did something about it. The fact that the people donated so much money should be enough to prove that hashtag activism makes positive changes in the world. With some of these statistics in mind, I would say that the internet is better at enforcement than some might think.
To conclude, hashtag activism is a great and easy way to make the world a better place. The fact that it is so accessible to so many people can make movements so much bigger than if the movements were out on the streets. To be a good digital citizen, it is important to be aware of these movements. Taking part in them and helping it grow and spread is also a good thing to do. Some of the comments on my post led me to find further articles addressing hashtag activism. There are many spin-offs of the Ice Bucket Challenge including the Rice Bucket Challenge to fight hunger in India and the Rubble Bucket Challenge for the victims of bombs in Gaza. The problem with these is that they weren't original. They never really got off the ground. Both of those have the word "bucket" and "challenge" in the name. If organizations want to raise money or awareness for their cause, then they need to come up with original ideas. Another issue addressed in the comments a few times was that of the #stopKony movement. I have seen the video associated with the movement, and now know why so many people have donated. It is a very moving video. I would have donated myself if I didn't know that so much of the revenue would be used for salaries and other promotions. The last hashtag that was brought up in the comments was #DudesGreetingDudes. This hashtag is all about how street harassment, contrary to the popular belief, is not about just saying “hi”. Elon James White started this hashtag to help fight street harassment. I checked it out and think that it is absolutely hilarious, but brings attention to a serious topic. It is another great example of how much hashtag activism can do for the world. It really clarifies how bad street harassment is. In the end, nothing has changed on my views of hashtag activism. It will always be one of the factors contributing to making the world a better place.