Work Life / The Power Of The Hashtag: #ChapelHillShooting

The Power Of The Hashtag: #ChapelHillShooting

Work Life Feb 12, 2015

Get Reports Of Injustice Trending

On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, three Muslim students were shot dead in their apartment near UNC Chapel Hill. But news of the tragedy didn’t reach newspapers, TVs or any mainstream media until a day later.

The victims were a newlywed couple, Deah Barakat (23) and Yusor Abu-Salha (21), and Yusor's younger sister, Razan Abu-Salha (19). According to CNN (, the three students were shot in the head by 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, who has since been charged with murder.

Regardless of the many speculations circulating social media as to why this story wasn't reported — whether the murders occurred as a hate crime or an escalated parking dispute — Arthur Chu from the Daily Beast nailed it when he wrote, “The Chapel Hill shooting would’ve been just another 'isolated tragedy' in the media if not for a concerted attempt to get #ChapelHillShooting trending.”

Chu went on to state that the killings would have no doubt stayed “local news” if not for the power of the hashtag, recalling the Cleveland tragedy of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell and the concerted effort that got #BlackLivesMatter trending.

So what is the lesson we take from this? If you feel that injustice has occurred, that some form of prejudice is at play and that reporters and news stations haven't stepped up to the mark, you take action by making your own breaking news. Strive for the cumulative power of the hashtag that acts as the deafening global voice of like-minded, distraught individuals. Make a force on social media that can't be ignored and create a powerful following to provoke action.

Feature Image:
still from twitter trending feed:


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