Hashtags on Twitter can often reveal a lot about people.
I was sitting at my computer writing some articles when I got a message from my friend, Innocentia, on Facebook. Check out the hashtag #IfApartheidDidNotHappen on Facebook and Twitter she said. So I did.
Tsiso tweeted, ‘Our grandparents would be overly educated people with enough retirement money.’
candice christians tweeted, ‘Your name and skin colour would not determine a salary increase, job interview and promotion.’
Buyelekhaya 18 Dec tweeted, ‘
#IfApartheidDidNotHappen Chris Hani would Still be alive.’
#IfApartheidDidNotHappen Blacks wouldn’t be working so hard just to prove that they are equally competent.’
So many different thoughts. Some of them light-hearted, many painting a beautiful hope-filled picture of what might have been and some of them, like this next one, just punching you right in the stomach:
Bazokhexa tweeted, ‘1976 school kids would be grandfathers today
HOW DO I THINK LIFE WOULD HAVE LOOKED?
I decided to try and write a few of my own:
#IfApartheidDidNotHappen then maybe more people would be okay with calling you Nosiphiwo instead of changing your name to Gift #Grr #IfApartheidDidNotHappen maybe white people speaking African languages would seem more normal and less applauseworthy. #IfApartheidDidNotHappen then maybe ‘being woke’ would refer to a time of the day and not a particular date on the calendar. #IfApartheidDidNotHappen then maybe we would be working together on how to build this country and not working together on how we can work together.
LEARNING FROM THE NET
What an amazing experience that was. When there is a hashtag that invites people to engage on something that means something to them, it can be so illuminating.
Reading through what people are writing, I get to see some of what they are feeling and thinking. I get glimpses of hopes and dreams of what could have been. Hopefully by listening to each other in this very simple way, we can start to find each other. We can start committing to some of those same outcomes, although from a different starting point.
That is one of the reasons I often prefer Twitter to Facebook. Facebook often seems a lot like posturing, like creating the kind of image you want people to see. And that does happen on Twitter as well, but Twitter for the most part feels more like people letting it all hang out.
We saw it so strongly during the American election – there was not much doubt which side of the line individuals were on with that one. We see it with popular culture from movies, to music and books. And we see it in daily fashion and food choices. The little tweet-tweet-tweet that gives you a sense of the heartbeat of the person behind it.
Have you ever followed a Hashtag on Twitter that gave you this kind of sense? Share some thoughts with us in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.