Almost 200 billion tweets are sent per year. But for hashtags to go viral on Twitter, it often takes a combination of relevancy, a strong call to action and a little help from a small sample of the nearly 300 million global Twitter users.
It’s no different for those used by the global development community. This year, we’ve seen hashtags harnessed in incredible ways, from creating global solidarity around the Ebola crisis, the outpouring of donations to victims of the Nepal earthquake and the ongoing public debate on the treatment of refugees and migrants.
We’ve also seen them used to collect and share the daily predicaments and conundrums of being a development professional.
Here are three of the most entertaining global development hashtags we followed this year:
Created in February 2013, #HumanitarianStarWars was started as a joke between several development professionals to poke fun at the aid world using the lens of the Star Wars film franchise. The release of the seventh installment in the Star Wars film series, “The Force Awakens,” recently re-sparked the hashtag that riffs on the often hilarious and otherworldly predicaments of the average aid worker.
Volunteerism is the love child of NGOs and development professional hopefuls. It’s often the way to get your foot in the door of international development, but there is much debate about how it’s done and who truly benefits from volunteering models. The creators of #EndHumanitarianDouchery instigated a conversation on what they consider “irresponsible voluntourism,” which often manifests in seven deadly sins, such as such as volunteering for the wrong reasons, doing the wrong kind of work or having a problematic mindset.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli came into office with a resolve to curb excessive government spending and use the funds instead to boost government productivity and revenue. Just a few days after being instated, he issued an edict banning several government spending lines, by banning government officials from taking unnecessary foreign trips, cancelling national independence day celebrations in December and banning public offices from buying and sending holiday cards with government money.
His thrifty approach sparked a continent-wide conversation on corruption as African Twitter users jumped on the bandwagon and shared how they would “Magufuli-fy” their personal spending habits.
Which hashtags are we missing? Leave them in the comments section below or Tweet us @Devex.
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