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#BringBackOurGirls: The Rapid Decline of a Hot-Ticket Hashtag

I recently came across an article from BuzzFeed that was published on May, 7 2014. The missing Nigerian schoolgirls were finally getting the global attention they deserved and the reaction on social media quickly took flight.

The vine above tracks just how jarringly massive and swift the call to action manifested as the world became festered in the need to spread the word about the horrific actions of Boko Haram.

It was an impressive effort that absolutely revolutionized the concept of how social media can become an effectively progressive platform when it comes to the pursuit of justice on behalf of unfortunate victims of circumstance.

As a writer, and cautious Nigerian — I was forced to provide my summation of the crippling events. The piece I wrote titled: Nigeria won’t Bring Back the Girls went viral almost immediately after I hit “Publish”.

It was my first taste of how it feels when a ton of people actually care about what you have to say.

At the time, I wanted to believe that the popularity of my article was based on its unique presentation. As you can imagine there were plenty of think-pieces about the subject but I was able to present a more personal view into the mechanisms of a country that I know too well.

But, now I know better. I tweeted the very same article last night. And hours later, it is still sitting in my timeline. Lonely and untouched. A clear indication that timing is everything.

The themes still remain valid and the expiration date is nowhere in sight — but #BringBackOurGirls has faded into mandated obscurity. The party was over the moment another conceived movement gained more traction.

There is nothing devastating about this because in all honesty — there is no way anyone of us could imagine that we would all still be devoted to celebrating the unification of minds devoted to the trend of the moment.

It’s just fascinating to witness the rapid decline of something that was heralded with such gusto and championed in ways that almost converted the tragedy into a full-blown and almost biblical protest that everybody wanted to be bathed in.

Tweeting #BringBackOurGirls gave social media users instant badges of recognition and made us feel like approved citizens of the world.

Retweeting pieces like the one I wrote was also part of the process. Whether it was done thoughtlessly or with a genuine sense of compassion — the inherent need to feel useful and culturally active always ends up being the initiator.

Well, here we are almost two years later — and that heated level of activism that was supposed to end with the missing girls being found has just managed to — end.

No trace of the girls except strings of evidence that they are most likely not ever coming home.

And the once hot-ticket hashtag has been regulated to the archives as restless users scroll past it in search of the present options that provide immediate relief from deathly redundancy.

It was a good run. We can’t deny that. We also can’t argue that hashtags mean absolutely nothing unless you believe in the cause more than the number of times you click your sentiments or share the selfies that illustrate your coerced stance.

Being a human being is really not as difficult as we’ve made it seem.

It just takes a beating heart replacing the avid tweeting of a hashtag.

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