What’s In A Hashtag: A Look Into the 2016 Writing and Rhetoric Symposium


From Danielle Ridenour, Department of Writing and Rhetoric Student Ambassador—

Symposium ImageHave you ever thought about the power of the hashtag and digital activism? #BlackLivesMatter and #HeForShe are seemingly simple phrases that have profound meaning as well as the ability to create digital movements and influence change. People are able to effortlessly spread a message and enter conversation using social media and the power of hashtags. How does one symbol have the ability to unite people all over the world?

According to the International Telecommunication Union, 3.2 billion people had access to the Internet in 2015. By utilizing the power of the hashtag, people have the opportunity to create a community with almost half of the world’s population. When connecting with 3.2 billion people, it is important to think about the advantages and implications of using social media and hashtags to create movements and develop an identity.

It is equally important to understand how your individuality becomes crucial in allowing you to successfully take part in digital movements. Hashtags can be used to create a personal brand, allowing others to connect to you. Sydney Holmquist, Account Executive at Vantage PR and guest speaker at this year’s Writing and Rhetoric Symposium, urges students to “figure out what your end goal is when crafting that digital persona.” Have you ever tried to Google yourself? Your digital footprint is all of the links that lead to you in a Google search. Is your identity accurately portrayed online?

Sydney further explains, “Instead of just having one platform or one website you can now create a consistent brand spread across a number of different platforms.” Creating a consistent digital persona will allow any one of those 3.2 billion people that have access to your online content the ability to completely understand you. Establishing a digital persona will allow you to connect to a community, enhance your employability, and share your message with the world.

As writer in a field dominated by the Internet, it is important to understand my digital footprint and the use of digital tools to do significant work. We have an abundant amount of opportunities to use the Internet to make a difference and find community. Understanding the how of creating meaning on the Internet is why you need to attend the 2016 Writing and Rhetoric Symposium.

Join us March 30, 2016 at 9:00 AM in the Student Union to understand how you can make a difference from behind a computer screen. The symposium will feature guest speakers, faculty panels, and student showcases.

 Be sure to RSVP to the event, “like” UCF Department of Writing and Rhetoric on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @UCF_DWR #ucfdigitalactivism.


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