Narration of the Hashtag. Not by Attenborough, but you.

The hashtag, made famous by Twitter, is the application allowing users to filter through noise to consume specific media and content. The hashtag is the structure of both the # and the word or phrase, this is then archived into medium of connected tags. Following the rapid rise of Twitter the hashtag has changed the narrative of human communication, and forced competitive social platforms to adjust accordingly.

According to MacDonald, M. (2015) hashtags represent paralanguage, the non-verbal cues that accompany human expression. This is due to digital technologies limiting the capacity that individuals can express complex communication, such as sarcasm or self derision. The meme #firstworldproblems, for example, represents this capacity. This is due to the concept that hashtags represent more than just the dissemination of information, but rather a narrative of each tag contributing to the idea and discussion of that theme. Hashtags represent trends, individual and organisational reaction and consumption of such trends, and their perspective contribution to further narrative.

This has been illustrated through hashtag activism, with numerous interactions or comments in response to a tagged word, phrase or sequence resulting from personal experience they undertake narrative agency. Yang argues that one aspect of narrative agency results through invitation of the audience, allowing the individual to co-create the narrative. Successful hashtag activism contains powerful calls to action, through demands appeals or protest – #OccupyWallStreet, #BlackLivesMatter, #BringBackOurGirls; the words in bold illustrate the strong sense of force.



6 thoughts on “Narration of the Hashtag. Not by Attenborough, but you.

  1. You’ve successfully explained in depth what a hash tag is, how it functions and covered hash tag activism. The only thing missing from this well written post is perhaps a meme or clip of some sort. I would have included some tweets that included the hash tags you mentioned. Interestingly, some people have coined the term “slaktivism”, which is basically a notion that hashtagging is protesting for the lazy. Crazy, hey? What are your thoughts on this? Mine are mixed. I saw it on this article here:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve touched upon ‘Slacktivism’ in the most recent blog, and in my opinion the laziness factor has little weight. This is due to the ability of digital activism to transcend physical space and borders, change worldwide opinion that may result in protest in physical space. An Australian example would be the Keep Sydney Open movement.

      The link that you have provided touches upon that hashtags and digital activism is more than attempting social change but as an act of solidarity. This is achieved through attempting to unite individuals to a common ideology that has an upstream response throughout society.


  2. I like how you tackled this weeks topic and the avenue you took. Hashtags are everywhere. You can see them on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, at events, or even on commercials and movie trailers. They really have changed the narrative form of communication both physically and online.
    This site provides another take on hashtags and why they are so important.
    Well done with embedding further sources to read on in your post. Can’t criticise, good job!


  3. It’s an interesting thought that the hashtag is a form of communication, but when you look at all the conversations that have started online because of a hashtag, it isn’t too difficult to see. Hashtag activism has brought attention to issues that otherwise would still be unknown if we relied on mainstream media to inform us about everything. This article looks at the start of hashtag activism and how it really is an important movement even if it has people doubting its use.


  4. Today, the role of the hashtag plays an important part in the narrative structure of important events. Monitoring a progressing hastags allows you to view the twists and turns of a story as it unfolds. Or, a hashtag can cause uproar and protest, which can lead to actual change that benefits a community. It gives participants permission to actually have a voice in important conversations, and that is extremely powerful tool. Each voice, each hashtag, becomes creates a ‘bridge of pebbles’ where each tweet becomes an essential part of a dynamic story. This article discuss how hashtag activism has played an influential role in many major events, which later sparked social change.


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