How social media stood by Ahmed: The power of a hashtag in human rights
You may think it’s a great idea to build a clock for your Science teacher, but how would you feel getting arrested for it because you’re Muslim and your name is Ahmed Mohammed? A 14 year old boy just experienced that in Texas, USA. He’s been released now but not before social media was set on fire about it.
The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed began, showing displeasure and disgust at the Science teacher who reported the incident to police, at police for actually siding with the teacher and taking Ahmed away in cuffs at his high school, and to the world at large for not changing their views on people from a Muslim background.
Twitter especially was more vocal, having influential people join in to express appreciation for Ahmed’s genius ways and he is one lucky fella having scored the following:
- Twitter who invited him to intern with them:
- A full scholarship to MIT
- An opportunity to visit Google’s ‘Google for Education’ project:
- Singer songwriter NeYo wants him too, if he ever does music:
The point is, social media is another way of fighting for human rights. The power of a hashtag cannot be underestimated as seen in this case. The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed has been used over 1.33 million times on Twitter alone as we speak. There are photos on social media from people around the world, posing with clocks to express unity. When was the last time you saw a global movement happen all at once physically? On social media, those occur almost every day.
From a tech point of view, we believe social media will get things done, as more authorities get feedback about issues in real time. Who has the time to wait for a convention to discuss them when they can tweet about it instantly to let them know what they think? We may be seeing more and more issues being raised on social media now, with the power to effect changes.
It has been done before, and will continue to do so. For now just keep a data bundle ready for when your expression is needed most.
(All images courtesy of Twitter)