When something happens in the world, it happens on Twitter.
...and interestingly enough, sometimes, when something happens to Twitter, it also happens to the world. That’s right, we’re talking about the power of the humble hashtag.
Photo via Digital Trends
On Twitter, people can connect with anyone around the globe and have their voice heard by millions. On 23 August 2007, twitter user Chris Messina tweeted a suggestion to use the # symbol to group conversations on the platform.
Well, that ladies and gentlemen, marked the birth of the hashtag and made August 23 the #HashtagDay!
If you’ve been using Twitter for a while, you might have noticed that everyone uses hashtags. Once you’ve started using Twitter, you’ll start to see hashtags all over. The # symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet, and can help categorize Tweets to find others like it.
Hashtags have continued to play a role in helping people join important conversations. People all around the world have made Twitter their microphone, shaped culture, and changed the world.
Here are three things that hashtags gave Malaysia in 2020:
1. A chance to rally the community
As the top hashtags in Malaysia show, #COVID19 and related hashtags were at the top of everyone’s minds. But it wasn’t just about the pandemic - Malaysians were also using powerful messages to rally each other and help everyone to get by.
When COVID-19 happened, many lives were disrupted and people had to adapt to a new way of living. Inspirational and unifying hashtags like #KitaJagaKita galvanised the Malaysian community on Twitter, where people shared tweets of encouragement for small businesses and frontline workers. Even instructional hashtags like #StayAtHome became places for people to bond over their shared experiences.
2. A chance for people to show their idols
When your favourite artist is based in another country, it’s important to show your support and let them know that your fan community is following from overseas. Hashtags also help fans of these groups make connections and deepen their friendships by making it easier to find fan communities.
From BTS to EXO, GOT7 to TWICE, Malaysians made their love for their favourite artists and the importance of their favourites to their lives, known.
These popular fan communities and their hashtags also spawned other popular hashtags, such as #WeAreOneEXO, where EXO’s fans can easily share fan edits or drawings of their idols.
3. A chance to ignite important conversations
Hashtags can help to organize conversations by issue, and help people find out more about the issues that are most important to them on Twitter.
2020 was another important milestone in the global fight against discrimination and equality. While global hashtags related to these movements were also popular in Malaysia, Malaysians also used hashtags from local movements as well.
#UninstallHatred started by Hussamuddin Yaacub as part of ‘Uninstall Hatred and Reboot Malaysia, call for Malaysians to remove hateful and intolerant thinking in order to make a multicultural and vibrant Malaysia a reality.
#MigranJugaManusia also became an important local conversation as people on Twitter discussed, debated and reflected on racism in Malaysia, and how migrants and minorities in the country deserve to be treated better.
Hashtags can help you connect to the largest conversations, spanning everyone on Twitter across multiple continents. Here are the top 10 hashtags in Malaysia thus far in 2020:
Photo via Twitter
Some tips on using a hashtag? Only use hashtags in Tweets relevant to the topic and don’t #spam #with #hashtags or overuse the # in a single tweet.
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat