When something happens in the world, it happens on Twitter and hashtags have helped to galvanise some of the most important moments in the past.
August 23rd marks the 11th birthday of the hashtag and to mark the date, Twitter is calling for it to be international #HashtagDay. Over the past 11 years, it has evolved from a user-created way to categorise or ‘tag’ Tweets, to become part of our everyday speech, changing the nature of communication online and becoming one of the most influential symbols of the digital age. Globally, an average of125 million hashtags are shared every day on Twitter, helping users to see what’s happening in the world and explore what is being talked about right now.
By using hashtags, people around the world have made Twitter their microphone, shaped our culture and changed the world. Globally, #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter or #EqualPay are all examples of actions and initiatives that have emerged on Twitter and triggered a socio-political debate. Twitter is the medium of initiatives. They start first on Twitter or are shared on Twitter by passionate campaigners as the perfect platform to amplify their message and make themselves heard. Around the world, hashtags are the key to successful initiatives spreading and garnering the attention of the wider public. Twitter is where these hashtags are shared widely and without the public, global and open service, many of these campaign messages would not be heard so loudly.
But even beyond the world-famous hashtag campaigns, there are many more around the globe who are committed to human rights, affordable sanitary products or drawing attention to healthcare and lesser known issues. Here are three hashtag campaigns from India to highlight:
Even in 2018, the majority of Indian women cannot afford sanitary towels. Many use old newspapers or other tools instead and because of this, they are at an extremely high risk of infection. To stand up for the removal of the taboos of menstruation, Bollywood stars and Twitter users have been posing with sanitary towels and using the hashtags #PadManChallenge and #BlessedToBleed to call their followers to join this movement.
Thank you @mrsfunnybones
Yes, that’s a Pad in my hand & there's nothing to be ashamed about. It's natural! Period. #PadManChallenge. Copy, Paste this & Challenge your friends to take a photo with a Pad. Here I am Challenging @SrBachchan , @iamsrk & @BeingSalmanKhan pic.twitter.com/lY7DEevDmD
— Aamir Khan (@aamir_khan) February 2, 2018
Thank you @murugaofficial for the #PadManChallenge ! Yes that’s a Pad in my hand & I don’t feel weird. It's natural, Period!
Copy, Paste this & Challenge your friends to take a photo with a Pad!
Here I am Challenging @ReallySwara @Asli_Jacqueline @arjunk26 pic.twitter.com/nk9d7dTu61
— Sonam K Ahuja (@sonamakapoor) February 3, 2018
The devastating floods in Kerala peaked last week claiming the lives of nearly 400 residents with 20,000 houses damaged. As floods continue to ravage, people on Twitter from all walks of lives,connect with government agencies, relief organisations, media, celebrities, athletes, volunteers, to spread awareness of the situation, donate and support the victims in any way they can.Citizens also leveraged Twitter to steer clear of fake news by simply using the hashtags #KeralaFloods, #KeralaFloods2018 to obtain information, real time.
— Anushka Sharma (@AnushkaSharma) August 16, 2018
Kerala is facing its worst flood in 100 years. This flood is also one of the worst floods in our country's history. More than half a million people are displaced. Your help can rebuild the lives of these affected. Donate to:https://t.co/FjYFEdOsyl #KeralaReliefFund
— CMO Kerala (@CMOKerala) August 19, 2018
Despite the population size, the demand-supply gap for blood units persists in many healthcare facilities across India. There is a need for more voluntary blood donors in India and Mr. Balu Nayar, founder of Blood Donors India (@BloodDonorsIN), recognized that. He has been running the blood donation helpline on Twitter to alleviate the matching of blood donation demand and supply in India and as part of its 12th birthday celebration, Twitter India launched a social initiative called #BloodMatters to drive more awareness towards the cause in India.
I am happy to see, @Twitter take up this cause to strengthen the overall health and well-being of the country with the #BloodMatters initiative. This will play a powerful role in mobilizing resources and strengthening the blood donation drive in India.
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) March 20, 2018
Good news! Glad to announce our partnership with @TwitterIndia on #BloodMatters with the support of @MoHFW_INDIA and @JPNadda. We're going to work together to help save many more lives around the country. Thank you to all donors and volunteers…
— Blood Donors India (@BloodDonorsIn) March 20, 2018
Top Indian hashtags in India in the past year ((23/8/2017 – 15/8/2018)