Your Guide to Hashtag Activism: #Activism Matters

Hashtag activism is a form of online activism that uses hashtags to create awareness and promote social change.

Hashtags are used on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. Hashtags can be traced back to the early 2000s when Twitter introduced them in 2007.

Hashtag Activism Meaning

The term was coined by activist, author, and public speaker Kelly Cogswell in 2013 when she published her book #Activism: How to Protest Intelligently.

The term refers to efforts made through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook rather than formal protests or demonstrations.

Cogswell’s definition of hashtag activism includes using hashtags to create trends on social media platforms, creating memes or graphics related to the said issue, and retweeting content from others related to the said issue, among other things.

Social media users often use hashtags to save time by searching for posts with specific words or phrases.

This has enabled activists to raise awareness about their causes on topics that may not have received much attention from the general public, including climate change, police brutality, and Black Lives Matter.

Activists can also use hashtags to focus their efforts around an achievable goal while simultaneously increasing visibility for other social justice.

How To Hashtag Activism

It’s easy to do, and you can get a lot done from your phone! Follow these steps to have an impactful hashtag campaign.

Pick a hashtag

Your favorite trending topic or one that reflects what you want to discuss. For example, #endgunviolence or #protectthesurfaceofearth

Create a catchy slogan for your cause

Post photos on Instagram with the hashtag

Tweet about it multiple times

Add it to Facebook

Share on other social media platforms such as Pinterest

Invite people who support your cause by tagging them in posts

Use the hashtag in conversation so more people will notice it

Related: What is Grassroots Activism?


There is no lack of hashtags to be found on Twitter; however, the effectiveness of these movements can vary. For example, #metoo took off because there was already an established network of people with similar experiences ready to speak out about their own stories.

Other times, like when students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School created #neveragain after the Parkland shooting in February 2018 (a year ago), they had a small group of supporters but used social media to amplify their message.

The hashtag activism movement is the new way to get your voice heard. The first step is finding a hashtag that resonates with you and then using it as often as possible, ideally daily.


Hashtag activism provides an outlet for people passionate about a cause but doesn’t have time or money to donate.

It also promotes discussion on trending topics which can lead to change. If you want to take action on something that matters deeply to you without prior experience, this might be what you’re looking for.

In recent years, the power of social media has been increasingly recognized for its ability to mobilize a wide variety of activists. One form of activism that is becoming more and more popular is hashtag activism.

As hashtags gain momentum, they become powerful tools for those who wish to voice their opinions publicly without any journalistic background or expertise in journalism.

For this reason, it’s essential for people who use these tools responsibly to not undermine other journalists’ work by presenting false information or misleading facts about current events.

Hashtag Activism Examples


Kony2012 was one of the most significant hashtag movements, with over 2 million followers on Twitter alone. Hashtags have been used for movements such as #BringBackOurGirls, in which more than 1 million people tweeted about it, spreading awareness across the world.

Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), like many Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), has also used social media to raise money for its projects through popular hashtag campaigns.

They are using simple hashtags, including well-known platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, but they have also used more sophisticated hashtags such as the PAPA campaign.

  • This multifaceted hashtag movement included different pictures, videos, and websites for PAC to spread awareness about its work in West Africa.
  • They used several platforms, including Twitter, Flickr, Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook, each outlet being used for different purposes.

The PEPPA Campaign

Which ran from May-August 2014, aimed to raise awareness of cholera prevention in Africa through educational messages based on the PAC public health model.

The hashtag #PEPPA2014 was used to spread awareness with no set objectives or goals but rather the overall goal of raising awareness about cholera prevention throughout Africa and making sure that it is accessible to those who need it most.

  • From June 2014-January 2015, PAPA focuses on four main pillars to raise funds for PAC: Photo, Article, People, and ATCO.
  • It also utilized various hashtags, including #PAPA1415, an Instagram-based campaign focused on showcasing people’s photos depicting their involvement in PAC activities and helping them publicize their amazing work across social media networks;


This campaign aimed to spread awareness about PAC’s works in West Africa and ensure they have a fabulous presence on social media networks.

#PAPA1415 was used to coordinate photos through Instagram of people involved with PAC activities, such as volunteers, participants, or anyone interested in supporting PAC’s efforts.

This creates an excellent image for the general public to see what goes on inside PAC and makes them aware of their existence and good things throughout Africa.


A campaign started by PAC in June 2014 shows how they used Twitter for their second campaign, ‘Peppa.’

  • They used various hashtags to promote upcoming events and coordinate with staff or partners to share important information about these events.
  • It also caters to everyone who has volunteered at PAC, which can be done through a two-part tweet: first, you would put ‘Volunteer’ and then input your name and location, followed by the hashtag #Volunteer.
  • It also allows users to share personal stories of how they became involved with PAC as well as show their support for future events that are being held.

PAC’s Twitter account also uses hashtags to spread awareness about cholera prevention or encourage people to do a fundraiser on their behalf to raise money for malaria prevention in Africa.

Another use would be during significant events such as Fashion Shows, where they will have the event tagged so people can feel inspired or informed about what goes on inside PAC.

Related: Is Activism Good or Bad?


Hashtag activism has become a powerful tool for social movements to amplify their message and get it in front of more people.

We all must do our part by supporting these causes, raising awareness, and sharing the hashtag with others on Twitter or Instagram.

By doing this, you are not only helping your favorite cause but also educating yourself on societal issues so that you can make informed decisions.


Viable Outreach

© Viable Media, LLC