Summary of “#Ferguson: Digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and the racial politics of social media in the United States” by Yarimar Bonilla and Jonathan Rosa

In the reading “#Ferguson: Digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and the racial politics

of social media in the United States,” written by authors Yarimar Bonilla and Jonathan Rosa, the authors discuss and try to make sense of the use of hashtags nowadays. They discuss the specific example of Michael Brown. Michael Brown was shot in 2014, word of his death got around and people began gathering around his shooting site wanting answers about what happened. Due to the fact that there was a lot of social media coverage, this became a protest. By the end of the month there were over eight million tweets that had #Ferguson,”  trying to reach people and bring awareness to what occurred with Michael Brown. The use of this hashtag made it easy for people to find information about this occurrence in the click of a button. A lot of people showed their support through the hashtag and that was all. The authors’ main argument is that hashtag activism is a poor substitute for real activism. They believe that hashtag activism will not have a long lasting impact. They also believe that you have to look beyond a hashtag to gain your information. Hashtags do not provide the full view of any topic, so they believe that they have to look beyond it and it is not as effective. I believe that the authors’ argument helps us understand that there is something called the language of the media and with that we have different ways of communicating and speaking our thoughts and beliefs. I found this argument to be very surprising due to the fact that I do not agree with the authors. I do find hashtag activism to be very effective in communicating and sharing information as well. I disagree with them because I have seen it work and how well it works. For example, with the hashtag Black Lives Matter, the way I gained knowledge of what occured was through social media. A lot of teens do not watch the news or read articles to know current events. To see this kind of news on social media is a big deal and helped reach people of all ages. Most people social media and use it every day, to be able to get information and news about big things and being able to share your thoughts and opinions with others is amazing in my opinion. 

Works Cited

“American Ethnologist: Journal of the American Ethnological Society.” #Ferguson: Digital Protest, Hashtag Ethnography, and the Racial Politics of Social Media in the United States, anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/amet.12112.

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