Monday, May 19, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls Social Media Sprinkled with Ridicule?

There is no telling what the power of social media can do...
Unbeknownst to some advocates and caring activist, critics sprinkled ridicule in the media regarding the effectiveness a growing social campaign called #BringBackOurGirls.

I learned about the 279 Nigerian girls who were forcefully kidnapped from a school in the remote North-East of Nigeria by Islamist insurgency group known as Boko Haram on Instagram. Most readers were naive to earlier incidents of attacks and violence which left a number of civilians dead. Like for many, if it had not been for a social media postings, the issues Nigeria is facing may never have caught the public's attention.
In comparison to countless well documented social media revolutions, #BringBackOurGirls is not much different. Social media has been known to air out the dirty laundry of leaders, regimes, political officials, and pop stars. This may be one of the reasons that social media has been an intricate force infused in awareness and monopolizing the average “Joe’s” power to harness change in the social culture today.

Historically, the timeline has shown there is power in people connecting and sharing content.

-In June 2009, the Tehran protest in Iran when the people protested an election in Iran, the Iranian government cracked down on media reports, but demonstrators used Twitter to further a “Twitter Revolution.” At one point it was mandated that Twitter postpone scheduled maintenance to provide people with a communication channel, sort of a life line to share information.

-January 2011 the uprising in Tunisa, Egypt, Syria, Libya, and other countries used Facebook and Twitter to organize protests.

-2011 Occupy Wall Street gains momentum and supporters through social media which leads to nationwide protests latter in the year.

-November 2012 Obama and Michelle tweeted a picture of themselves. The public retweeted it almost 800,000 times. Also in 2012, Israel Defense forces live tweeted a military conflict against Hamas in Gaza.

There are many more examples from disaster relief in from the earthquake in Haiti, hurricane Sandy in the North, tornado's in the Midwest to political revolutions, protests, and organized awareness campaigns throughout the world.  To date high profile celebrities and public officials have also chimed in with signs that promote the #BringOurGirlsBack campaign. People like Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mary J. Blige and President Barrack Obama are just a few to name.

The point of this historical reference is to correlate social media and other digital 2.0 effectiveness
in organizing real action. From the White House to Monday May 12th’s Rallyin front of City Hall in New York City. It is through social media that women in Nigeria were able to catch the world’s attention.  

People all over the country are standing up to put pressure on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to be proactive in the matter. It is believed with out the strong presence of the outside world, nothing much would have been done to return the young girls safely back home.

With a crucial election for Goodluck Jonathan around the corner, he has no choice but to hear the world’s dismay about the lack of adequate laws, resources, and concern to protect young girls and women in Nigeria.  

People gathered with public advocate Letitia "Tish" James, City Council member Mattieu Eugene, speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Brooklyn College Political Science Professor Mojubaolu Okome, Bishop Dr. Jonathan Owhe, and a host of additional concerned leaders and citizens to discuss #BringBackOurGirls and what the public can do to support.

Social media has been instrumental in bringing awareness to #BringBackOurGirls campaign. As pictures and video was taken, people shared their point of view, conversed, and creatively poured out a message that announced “Our Nigerian Girls Matter”.  These girls are mine and yours, our sisters, aunts, and daughters.  



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