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January 2018 Blog: #Social Justice and Social Media

18 Jan 18
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These are just a few hashtags relating to trafficking, harassment and exploitation.  We see the hashtag symbol on social media but what is it, why do we use it and why are there so many of them!

In short, a hashtag is used on social media to categorize and track content. It helps a user search for posts on specific topics. But there is a lot more to using social media as an advocacy tool.  Here is a quick primer on social justice and social media.

Social media is as important to today’s activist as a letter to the editor or even a protest rally.  It’s an open forum for social engagement.  Social media allows you to communicate directly with decision makers, spread and share news quickly and mobilize members and supporters.

There are seemingly endless social media apps, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are just a few. The most commonly used social media applications are Facebook and Twitter.  What is the difference between Facebook and Twitter?  Well, some people say that Facebook is for connecting with the people you went to school with and Twitter is for people you wished you had gone to school with.

In a nutshell, Facebook is used by individuals who wish to stay connected with, or reconnect with, people that they know offline. Facebook is used by organizations and businesses to enhance their brand and disseminate information.  Users maintain a profile or page and post messages on their “wall.” The messages can be of any length and can include links, images, video, etc.

Twitter allows users to post 280 character messages, or tweets, and follow the messages of other users on their Twitter feed. It is mainly used to communicate with other individuals with similar interests, regardless of whether users know one another off Twitter, and to follow updates from organizations, businesses and celebrities.  Twitter is a frequently used form of communication in the current political climate.

Hashtags are what we used to think of as the pound symbol or number sign. Users can group posts together by topic or type by use of hashtags – words or phrases prefixed with a “#” sign. A word, phrase or topic that is mentioned at a greater rate than others is said to be a “trending topic”. Trending topics become popular either through a concerted effort by users, or because of an event that prompts people to talk about a specific topic. These topics help Twitter and their users to understand what is happening in the world and what people’s opinions are about it.

Tagging is more than just a children’s game!  Tagging is a way to mention or reply to other users.  By using the “@“ symbol, you can engage in a form of conversation over social media. For example, including the tag @ncjwncs in a Facebook post or Tweet will alert NCJW Chicago North Shore that you’ve posted at or about them. Tagging is a great way to let you elected officials know about issues.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  Participate by taking action on social media.  Here are a couple sample Tweets and Facebook posts:


●  We were slaves, too – and we will not stand idly by while people are being trafficked. Join us in speaking out on #HumanTrafficking Awareness Day. #EndHumanTrafficking

●  The Jewish community is working to #EndHumanTrafficking. Our shared values call us to build a world where all are free:

●  #HumanTrafficking is using force, fraud, or coercion to control someone for commercial sex or labor & services #EndHumanTrafficking

●  Everyone deserves respect & dignity. No one should be exploited for labor or sex. #EndHumanTrafficking

●  As Jews, we cannot stand by while others are enslaved. We must work for a world in which all are free #EndHumanTrafficking


●  An estimated 20.9 million individuals are enslaved worldwide, including hundreds of thousands of victims in the US. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion to exploit men, women, and children through forced labor and or sexual exploitation. Jewish tradition reminds us that we, too, were once slaves in Egypt. We must commit to adequately funding services for survivors of trafficking, hold traffickers accountable, and address the systemic causes of trafficking. We will not stand idly by while others are enslaved! Today, we join our voices together to build a world where all are free. #EndHumanTrafficking

●  #HumanTrafficking is the forced exploitation of a human being for labor or sex, which violates the inherent dignity and worth of a person. Jewish tradition reminds us that we, too, were once slaves in Egypt. We will not stand idly by while others are enslaved! As Jews, our shared values call us to speak out against the injustice of slavery, to hear the voices of victims and survivors, and to vigorously uphold the right of every individual to be free. #EndHumanTrafficking

Below are some great social media resources.  Happy Posting!

Social Media Resources:

NCJW CNS Facebook & Twitter Handle: @ncjwcns
How to Create Your First Tweet:
The Perfect Facebook Post:
Writing Great Tweets:
Popular Twitter Hashtags:

~ Melissa Prober, Executive Director, National Council for Jewish Women Chicago North Shore

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