If you've got a message to spread, then you need a hashtag to do it with. But how do you make sure it goes viral?
From Emma Watson’s #HeForShe campaign to the current #NotInMyName protests on bombing Syria (find out what the UK’s decision to go ahead with airstrikes really means for you here), if you’ve got a message to spread to the world, then you need a hashtag to spread it with.
Lindy West, 33, a US writer and activist, founded the #ShoutYourAbortion movement in September 2015 with Amelia Bonow to counteract the shame surrounding abortion. It’s been shared more than 200,000 times. Here, she tells us how to make your hashtag go viral…
1. Tap into a need. A great hashtag is something that everyone is almost saying. Find what people are dancing around, what hasn’t quite been put into words yet, then say it.
2. Make it bold. What makes our hashtag work so well is also what makes it controversial: the word ‘abortion’. Would it have caught as many eyes if we’d called it something less confrontational, like #ShoutYourChoice? I doubt it.
3. Tell a story. One great strength of #ShoutYourAbortion is that it’s open-ended. It invites people to run with it, make it theirs, and fill in the blanks with their own experiences.
4. Bother people. No matter how clever your hashtag is, you might have to ask for retweets in order to get it off the ground.
5. Ignore the haters. People will try to derail your campaign. But if they want to silence you, it means you’re being heard.