Social media is great for a number of things. Grandparents can check out the latest exploits and pictures of their grandchildren. Reporters can use it for live coverage of breaking news from the field. Companies and non-profits can advertise sales and events for free. And we can find out what every celebrity is wearing, eating, watching and thinking that day.
But one thing that social media is not really good for is geo-political change. #SaveUkraine didn't keep Vladimir Putin from taking over the Crimea region--and it isn't stopping him from undermining political stability in the entire eastern half of Ukraine either. #StopClimateChange isn't keeping the Earth from continuing its 12,000 year warming trend. And the hot new trend--#BringBackOurGirls--isn't going to do a darn thing to save the Christian girls kidnapped by Muslim extremists in Nigeria.
So-called "Hashtag Activism" is all the rage now--and it is the perfect embodiment of today's more liberal society--all talk and no action. Your retweet of First Lady Michelle Obama's selfie with her #BringBackOurGirls hand-written note makes you "feel good"--you "did something", you "made a statement", you "showed your support". And that retweet made as much of a difference as the retweets earlier that day of the really cute shoes that Ashley picked out for her prom outfit and the link to the video of the cat that gets stuck in a paper bag.
Do you really think there is a Social Media Director for Boko Haram running to his leader--Abubakar Shekau--today: "Sir, #BringBackOurGirls is trending on Twitter! It's already received 40-million retweets! That's almost as many as that infidel Ellen's selfie at the Oscars!"
Shekau: "Have you tried a counter trend--perhaps #WeAreAPeacelovingPeople or #Tolerance?"
SMD: "We tried that, sir--but most of our supporters live in Muslim theocracies that don't allow people to use Twitter on the internet. We can never hope to get that many retweets!"
Shekau: "Then it is over. Post on our Facebook page that we are releasing the girls and evacuate the camp. CURSE YOU MICHELLE OBAMA AND YOUR SELIFIES!! I HAVE WILL HAVE MY REVENGE ON INSTAGRAM SOMEDAY!!"
What do you say we demand more from our leaders than just 140-characters and a hashtag?