ESSENCE Poll: Is Hashtag Activism Effective?

Like her shows, Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes’ commencement speech this weekend at her alma mater, Dartmouth, caused quite a stir on Twitter. 

The speech’s overall theme of “be a do-er, not a dreamer” received rave reviews—some have even called her speech “epic.” But Rhimes also made some candid comments about hashtag activism that weren’t recieved as well.

“A hashtag is not helping,” began Rhimes. “#yesallwomen #takebackthenight #notallmen #bringbackourgirls #StopPretendingHashtagsAreTheSameAsDoingSomething. Hashtags are very pretty on Twitter. I love them. I will hashtag myself into next week. But a hashtag is not a movement. A hashtag does not make you Dr. King. A hashtag does not change anything. It’s a hashtag. It’s you, sitting on your butt, typing on your computer and then going back to binge-watching your favorite show. I do it all the time. For me, it’s Game of Thrones.”

Rhimes’ strong opinion resulted in some social media users accusing her of not understanding hasgtags. 

“Hashtags have brought awareness and even raised funds in many cases. I’d say it’s a valuable tool,” tweeted @moniquekcollins.

“I would wager that in 21st Century tweeting is a NEW form of ACTIVISM, voicing ones concerns ELECTRONICALLY,” tweeted @PoliticsPeach.

Do you think hashtags are an effective tool for social change?

[poll id=502141]

Loading the player...