I've recently started to understand how hashtags work on different social media sites. It seems the more I learn, the more I realize how useful these hashtags can be. More and more non profit and charity organizations are able to start hashtags that trend online allowing them to effectively spread the word quickly about a cause they are promoting. The first time I really started to notice this trend was with the fight for marriage equality. Tweets and Facebook posts were full of hashtags such as #marriageequality. These powerful words spread quickly and soon everyone was catching on to the trend of hashtagging for a cause important to them.
The most recent hashtag cause I stumbled upon was brought to my attention from a person I met while in France. He started using Instagram to post photos of litter on the ground and hashtagging with #litterati. At first I thought to myself, is my friend taking artsy pictures of his garbage? That idea seemed strange to me, so after further investigation, I found this hashtag was much more meaningful than I had realized.
"The Vision of Litterati is a litter free world"
Jeff Kirschner, a father living in the Bay Area is a man who decided to use Instagram to help him spread the word about the issue of littering. His vision is that people will use Instagram to snap photos of litter they find on the ground, hashtag it with #Litterati, share it with their friends, and throw the litter out afterwards. Instagram's geotagging and timestamping capabilities not only allow Jeff to see what items are being littered, but also where, when, and how many times they are being littered. Jeff refers to this pile of data as a digital landfill. It's a way to literally see the impact of the movement he has created.
The hope for this campaign is for Jeff to eventually make deals with certain areas of cities to put in more garbage or recycling bins in an effort to create less litter. In a similar way, Jeff hopes to reach a point where he can sit down with a company or brand whose products are frequently littered to find a way to reach a mutually beneficial solution for everyone.
The rise of importance of the Internet, Social Media, and the many technologies that have come along with it has undoubtedly changed the world we live in, for better and for worse. But if we can start creating more campaigns such as the one that Jeff Kirschner has, the Internet and Social Media could do wonders for non profits and charity organizations such as #Litterati.
Learn more about Litterati here.
Thanks to Katie Komnenich for writing this blog post.