The beginning of May marks the start of Asian Heritage Month, a time in which we celebrate the culture and achievements of the community – something that is so desperately needed given the current social climate. In this post, we’ll delve into how social media played a part in driving change, particularly with the #StopAsianHate movement.

Computer with a screen that reads "Do More"

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Social Media = What’s Going On?

Social media is an ever-evolving space in which individuals and organizations can share ideas and stories – otherwise known as content. Through this powerful tool, we can connect with friends, family, and communities with common interests. 

When someone is celebrating a birthday or a milestone of some sort, they are likely to share some content on social media – whether it be pictures or a greeting. Why do they share? To let their peers know about the occasion that they are celebrating.

Quite frankly, we don’t just share content on social media, but we bring awareness to ideas, events, and issues that are taking place. We post a photo of our takeout order on Instagram – to let our friends and family know what we had for lunch. Or, maybe we tweet about the latest show that we started binge-watching. Regardless of the reason, we use social media to let others know what’s going on in our lives.

The Power of Hashtags – #StopAsianHate

Speaking of current events, the last few months have been especially tough for Asian communities worldwide – particularly in North America due to the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes. As a result, hashtags such as #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate (AAPI = Asian American Pacific Islander) were trending on various social media platforms. 

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

As an Asian-Canadian myself, the recent trend saddened me, as anti-Asian hate has been a problem for quite some time, (even before the coronavirus outbreak). Indeed, the recently amplified attention on the issue was thanks to social media. Through the #StopAsianHate hashtag, individuals shared their personal experiences and resources on how others can help the community – all of which are valuable content. 

Taking It A Step Further – Sharing and Engaging

So why exactly was the #StopAsianHate hashtag trending? Or rather, what makes a hashtag trend? It’s important to remember that hashtags help group together content based on a similar topic. For example, content with #ThrowbackThursday may include users’ nostalgic photos and memories. Social media posts with the #StopAsianHate hashtag consisted of images and messages about personal experiences with anti-Asian racism. 

Photo by ShotPot from Pexels

Like other social media platforms, Twitter has an algorithm that determines which hashtags are trending and when. Unfortunately, this algorithm is not public information – however, timely and relevant content seems to be what trends on the platform. Since many were tweeting and engaging with content that included #StopAsianHate – it made it on the list of trending topics on Twitter.  As a result, the hashtag brought in more engagement as others would tune in out of curiosity.  

Social media has been a prominent vessel for people to share their experiences, thoughts, and information with the public – especially during this time of digital-first communication. A single hashtag, such as #StopAsianHate, was powerful enough to bring light to an issue that’s been shoved into a corner for far too long. When used correctly and responsibly, social media can help bring communities together to make a positive change.

How You Can Help

As mentioned earlier, May is Asian Heritage Month – a time in which we traditionally celebrate the culture and contributions of the Asian community. Undoubtedly, this year is significant, as it comes during a time of social unrest. 

Now you may be wondering, how can I help? Here are some ways you can support:

  • Continue spreading awareness on social media by sharing content using the #StopAsianHate hashtag. Following and interacting with the social media accounts of organizations that are directly affected by the issue.
  • Don’t stay silent. Report incidents and consider enrolling in Bystander Prevention Training.
  • Be an ally. Show your support to organizations battling anti-Asian racism and violence. Check out a list from BlogTO here
  • Educate yourself. Check out these resources from the Government of Canada website.

Most importantly, remember to check on your friends – a phone call, text, or even a message on social media can go a long way. Together, we can use our voices either in person or even online on social media to make a positive change in our community.

Qode Social is a Toronto-based social media marketing agency that specializes in community building, account growth, ad analysis, Facebook and Instagram support, and more. Led by experienced social media experts, Qode Social has worked with companies such as Gay Lea Foods, Days Inn Canada, TP-Link and more. Qode Social is a division of Qode Media, which is the parent company that focuses on SEO and graphic design.