When various technologies led to the proliferation of social media, Twitter rapidly became one of the most widely used platforms on the planet, it is being used more and more daily, and it has evolved into a free space where anyone can come and flexibly exchange ideas without any racial prejudice. As a result, there is a movement in society. We can’t ignore the fact that hashtags on Twitter play a key role in some societal changes or issues from people gathering together to affect society in a more positive direction. In addition, Twitter is a medium that aids in the advancement of democracy in society. In Thailand, for example, Twitter is the primary channel for exchanging political news. People can get some of the information that the government wishes to keep hidden on Twitter, and hashtags have made it a social problem on several occasions. Despite the fact that there are numerous advantages to using Twitter. However, there are drawbacks to using them, such as cyberbullying and the distribution of fake news that can lead to misconceptions. This has resulted in a mental breakdown that has affected a significant portion of society.
How did Twitter contribute to the improvement of the world?
We discovered that the hashtag feature on Twitter is the key means of expressing and discussing social issues, based on the trend of driving and campaigning on diverse issues in society, especially in politics. Hashtags began as a casual way of emphasizing ideas in an unformatted text and attempting to build a discussion around a topic. In 2009, Twitter began linking and collecting hashtags, making them more searchable and useful as identifiers. While most hashtags emerge naturally, certain organizations employ hashtags to promote a message (Pew research center, 2016). One of the movements that occurred, is considered to be one of the largest movements in the United States. “#BlackLivesMatter” or BLM, is a fragmented political and social movement aimed at bringing attention to the racism, prejudice, and unfairness that black people face. When the group’s followers get together, it’s mostly to demonstrate police brutality and racially motivated violence against black people. After George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the February 2012 shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin, the movement began in July 2013 with the introduction of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media. Participants in the movement have shown against the deaths of countless more African Americans by police acts or while in police custody.
And this hashtag boomed again when the events in Minneapolis occurred, a shop called 911 to report that a person had been seen buying items with counterfeit 20 dollars, prompting four police officers to drive to the store. People who are accused of using fake banknotes. His name is George Floyd, and he is a 46-year-old security guard. When the police arrived, they ordered him out of the car and handcuffed him before leading him to the police car parked on the opposite side of the road. Villagers who witnessed the crime video it on their cellphones. It was at that point that a police officer was pressing Floyd against the ground with his face by the kneeling officer. He tried 15 times to shout “I can’t breathe,” the police officer. After this incident, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of publicly available tweets, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was used nearly 47.8 million times on Twitter from May 26 to June 7 in 2020, an average of little under 3.7 million times per day. It illustrates that using a hashtag is an action that anyone can do, no matter where they are. As a result of this occurrence, black people and supporters of BLM from all around the world have joined together to express their views and oppose injustice. I believe that more or fewer individuals have realized the long-standing racism in society as a result of these events. This racism has had a significant impact on people.
What about the movement in Thailand?
In the last few years, Twitter has grown in popularity among Thais by leaps and bounds. When the majority of users are between the ages of 16 and 24, and when the younger generation is more aware of numerous political and social issues that arise. As a result, the concept of the young generation rising up to drive society using Twitter hashtags has become popular in Thailand. All of those hashtags have something to do with social and political issues. When the use of the online platform reaches a certain point. The younger generation began to expand the movement’s agenda to include additional offline activities. By using online media, particularly Twitter, to discuss and update news about the protest for democracy.
Dealing with COVID-19, solving economic problems that depend on the life and death of Thais under the present Thai government’s administration are in disarray. Therefore, a demand was made against Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-O-Cha. The animosity that has built up among Thais for the past seven to eight years, since the Prime Minister’s 2014 coup, and the time lost on the country’s lack of growth. Instead, you could term it “be retrogressive”.
Another incident that shows clearly that Twitter is a platform for social justice is the death of Nida “Tangmo” Patcharaveerapong, a well-known Thai actress who died after falling into the Chao Phraya River while on a speedboat with five people. Tang Mo has been a well-known actress in the Thai entertainment industry for about 20 years. The news of her accidental, unexpected, and ambiguous death has piqued the public’s interest. This news is made much more remarkable by the fact that her death was linked to a powerful person, or “Hi-so,” as Thais refer to wealthy people. Many questions have arisen as a result of her death. As a consequence, a “#justicefortangmo” was created on Twitter to demand justice for her death. Because we know that when a person’s death is linked to a powerful individual, obtaining justice is tough. Several additional investigations into her death were launched as a result of this event. Twitter users are also assisting in the search for evidence that may lead to the discovery of information concerning her death.
Thais now utilize Twitter as their main channel for expressing social and political concerns. Every time there is a protest against the government, we’ve discovered that hashtags are created to keep track of precise details about the protest. When the government employs violence against people who need to demonstrate justice, Twitter gives real-time news updates from actual people. It may also be utilized as a platform to seek support and spread the word. Moreover, due to traditional media’s inability to effectively report on political movements, because the government intervened, Thai citizens began to use Twitter to keep up with the latest news. We also discovered social trends that became even across the country. This is due in part to Twitter hashtags, where people share their thoughts and pay attention to the news, hence, traditional media pushes the movement to the public as news.
How does Twitter change society?
Twitter is the primary means of conveying news. In addition to social and political activities, Twitter is also a medium for sharing knowledge and educating people about science, culture, and other topics. Because it is a platform that may be referred to as a “free place” where individuals from all over the world can communicate with one another without barriers and with ease. One apparent example is to inform people about Covid-19, considering that if we didn’t have Twitter on that particular day, we wouldn’t have known that a global epidemic was on the way. And we’re unlikely to be able to handle it in a timely manner and when the epidemic comes out. Another key part is providing information on self-defense and healing. On Twitter, people with expertise in treating the disease can share their knowledge for the benefit of others.
You may believe that Twitter is a pointless exercise. It’s just a platform that, like any other social media platform, has limited ability to influence society. But consider this: how can civilization evolve if there is no place for people to share their knowledge or discuss issues that arise in society? We will never know who is being paid to convey such news if we depend solely on the mainstream media. Also, sharing a problem offline may have no effect because it is impossible to reach a large number of people once the problem has emerged. It may not be time to fix it if you have to wait for other individuals to obtain such information. Since the world’s society is cruel, individuals must fight on their own. At the moment, Twitter is the platform that meets the demand.
However, as Twitter is a free space, anyone can share their opinions, there is always a disadvantage to consumer social media. The drawback is that it could lead to cyberbullying, which is a common occurrence. It is relatively easy to spread hate speech due to anonymous freedom. Another disadvantage is the constant spread of fake news. Because when they receive news, they can publish it right away without confirming the information, this is a drawback that we must be aware of when using Twitter. Preventing fake news requires constantly validating information, which is something everyone should be aware of when using social media because we have no way of knowing who posted what and how trustworthy someone is.
The bird represents freedom, like Twitter allowing us to think, post, and comment on whatever we want; we are free here.