Last week, this blog highlighted the fact that George Clooney's engagement was considered bigger news than the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls and a developing human rights crisis in Nigeria.
That newspapers are more interested in easy to digest stories about celebrities is not surprising of course, but this fact should be remembered when criticising the very easy to mock trend of so-called 'hashtag activism' - lending support for a cause by sharing, tweeting and retweeting content and comment united by a common hashtag.
Sharing a hashtag or posing for a photo holding said hashtag may seem incredibly shallow, populist nonsense, but then many of the people such activism is intended to influence are shallow and populist.
As if to prove the point, here's Prime Minister David Cameron holding up a hashtag on the BBC's Andrew Marr show (right).
Now, hopefully nobody thinks because #BringBackOurGirls is trending this is job done and the terror group behind the awful crimes in Nigeria will call it a day. A popular hashtag won't solve anything directly but it can be effective in showing the media and vote-conscious politicians that people care about an issue.
While much of the media ignored the story in Nigeria there was far less public pressure upon politicians to act. As soon as voters start showing in significant numbers that they care about a serious issue, politicians will likely get involved. Similarly, a number of media outlets that had all but ignored the story have over the past week started to cover it since celebrities got involved in the campaign organised via and around the shared hashtag:
Such awareness raising should not be mocked simply because it is easy. There is an argument that it makes us lazy in our activism and I'm sure there are those taking to the streets in protest at this story who understandably consider the actions of many on social media to be the most half-hearted kind of vain, bandwagon-jumping lip-service. While retweeting a hashtag should not absolve us from doing whatever else we can, I'm inclined to believe the majority of those lending whatever social media weight they may have to successfully getting this story onto the media and political agenda would otherwise have done nothing.