hashtag #icantbreatheWhat is a Hashtag, you ask?

Hashtags are simple. Born from the social network, Twitter, hashtags are simply a number symbol, #, placed before a word or phrase. As a way to easily curate topics and conversations, the hashtag can have incredible power.

On Thursday, hashtags united protesters from New York City to Seattle after another grand jury decision. Social media sites Twittter, Facebook and Tumblr, came alive with reactions to a New York City grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the death of a black man. The case, quickly follows the Ferguson, Missouri case where a grand jury decided on November 24 not to indict a police officer in the death of a black teenager. Using the hashtags #ICantBreathe and #EricGarner, protesters around the country united in conversation and a group protest on the issue. Today, three days later, these hashtags were the still top two on the list of Twitter’s trending topics. Getting a community to gather around a hashtag can take some work, but in this case, these hashtags took on a life of their own and rallied folks across the country to join the protest, or at the very least, find out about it.

I agree with this statement from the article about the protests in the Wall St. Journal: “Hashtags have become a centerpiece of activism on social media, helping bring attention to major events while enabling protesters to direct large groups of people to specific demonstrations.

‘There’s no need for a group when you have a hashtag,’ said Stephanie Koithan, 28, who said she found out about the protests on Facebook. “There’s no one managing it. A hashtag takes a life of its own.'” Read the full article here.

[By JENNIFER SMITH and ANDREW TANGEL, Dec. 4, Social Media Help Fuel Protests After New York Officer Not Indicted Over Death of Eric Garner. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/articles/social-media-help-fuel-protests-after-new-york-officer-not-indicted-over-death-of-eric-garner-1417662999?tesla=y]

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