I’m not that old. But I can recall a time “back in the old days” when we actually had to push buttons on our phones, heck we even had HOME PHONES, and if you were a southern family like mine, your home phone was attached to the wall with a cord even, and a rotary dial. Those were the days when that “#” symbol was actually called a pound sign. It was a call to action. It guided the phone number to a specific extension or next step….oh the good ol’ days! (Don’t even get me started on that star button. Place it in front of 6 and 7 and you’ve got an awesome prank phone call or before 6 and 9 to help you figure out who your crush is that keeps calling.)
The Birth of the Hashtag
These days the pound sign has transformed, (much like my waist line) into something more that I can’t quite figure out. I literally heard a local lawyer’s radio commercial the other day reference the pound sign in their extension as “hashtag-blah blah blah”. 🤦🏻♀️ I. Can’t. Even.
As a blogger, I get the use of a hashtag for our marketing and advertising purposes on social media. They collective assign alike images into groups to make it easier for a person to find exactly what they are looking for. That is really convenient if you are on the other side trying to reach out to the ideal client. It does all the work for you. There is online course after online course on the power of targeting your key market by appropriating the correct hashtags. It’s free exposure and quite genius in this day-n-age. I’m not totally hating on the hashtag’s abilities in those scenarios.
There’s become a trend that seems to have developed, unfortunately, out of the many tragedies we have endured across the world as of late. From shootings, to bombings, to attacks, to natural disasters, we all ache for each other and run to our social media accounts and implement our hashtag tactics:
….just to name a few. And it’s a moment of solidarity. I don’t negate the attempt and intentions of acknowledgement and showing support via our hashtags in times when we feel like we can do nothing to help. Except, we can.
Do more than your Hashtag
Now I’m not saying everyone can load up private planes like Ricky Martin and fly hundreds of thousands of dollars of supplies to a country in need after a natural disaster, but something, ANYTHING, small or large that we can do is weightier than a “#” has to offer. We quickly offer up, “thoughts and prayers” to go out to the victims, but are they just thoughts about prayers? Do our efforts stop at fluffy cliches?! Are we truly standing in the gap with our own faith in asking for miracles for those enduring tragedy? What are we giving from exactly where we’re at when we’re simply keyboard good Samaritans?
Being a native from Central Florida, I can definitely say that we felt the love in Orlando from everyone’s hashtag use after the Pulse attack and most recently through Hurricane Irma, and I know some places even donate per use of the hashtag from their company, BUT do we really want to let a quick hashtag shout out be the extent of our volunteer work?
What more can I do?
Look, I’m in the same boat you are. As a mama of 3 kids and 3 dogs, a business owner, and SAHM extraordinaire… the thought of adding another thing to my to do list seems so daunting. I never want to make anyone feel bad for their lack of philanthropy or what this season of life offers them as far as time, energy, and resources. All I want to encourage us ALL to do, is a call to action. Simply, do what you can, with what you have, from where you are.
Good old fashion kindness goes a long way. Can’t literally get in there with your hands and help with relief efforts? Then donate supplies. Can’t afford to buy anymore than what your own household needs? Then reach out with hand written notes or small acts of kindness to anyone around you. I heard of a neighbor who had a generator and walked around with a hot pot of coffee to those few houses around him.
Physically step outside of your own needs to fulfill someone else’s cup (literally or figuratively). Those small gestures in these times of despair will mean so much to people. The hashtag is certainly a powerful tool, I personally just think that our efforts should extend past our computer screens.