Twitter; a vibrant tool for swift social change-#EndSARS? (Abdussalam Umar)

Power of the Tweet:

Just last night, I started seeing the #EndSARS hashtag on my twitter timeline. I just assumed it was another one of 'em hashtags making another appearance on my Twitter feed, so I continued tweeting about the Arsenal-United match of last night. I was soon to find out that I was horribly wrong!

I woke up this morning, and BOOM, its everywhere! More than 100,000 tweets. Everyone’s tweeting about it! Everyone's got a story to tell. Hardly do I scroll through my timeline without seeing the #EndSARS hashtag.

Its at times like this that one cannot but be in awe of the power of social media, in this case twitter!

This reminds me of the hashtag that took Nigeria by storm this very time last year. With the help of  twitter personalities like omojuwa, the hashtag #UnilorinEnoughIsEnough made its way to the top ten most trending tweets in the nation. 

However, it's actually quite unfortunate that most people belittle the effects of online protest or ‘twitter protest’. Note that it was the constant retweeting of #LibyaSlaveTrade by twitter users and a handful of online personalities like Paul Pogba and Kanye West that forced the hands of the reactive and seemingly disinterested clique of leaders we have in Africa into action.

Lets not forget the effect the #MeToo hashtag has had on the war against sexual harassment and violence. If I'm not wrong, that hashtag has got to be the most influential of hashtags this year!

Its also noteworthy that as the #UnilorinEnoughIsEnough started to gain momentum nationwide, media houses and important personalities started asking questions. This forced the then Prof. Ambali administration into action. It was indeed a triumph that still lingers in my mind till today.

Social media is the only tool that can effectively bring fringe matters and issues centre stage and into the spotlight. The first step towards widespread change is awareness, and social media does just that. 

Yes, to be honest, there's indeed a long walk from the powerful tool called social media towards concrete and widespread social change.

After all, as the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, so does social change in this society of ours begin with a #Tweet!!

Abdussalam Umar (SALAMI)


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