Digital Empowerment Module

Lesson 4: Hashtags

Before you start the lesson, make sure to read through the lesson overview and the lesson preparation. The Facilitator Guide can also help you prepare.

Lesson Overview

Lesson Preparation

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Begin Lesson

Advocacy Using Hashtags


While individuals often use specific social media platforms in advocacy campaigns, these platforms share certain characteristics. One helpful common feature is the hashtag. Hashtags allow us to draw attention to our ideas by connecting our posts to other posts on the same topic. For instance, if we wanted to share videos from our recent football game where our striker performed a hat trick, we could include “#football, “#footballinYourStateorCountry” (e.g., “#FootballinQatar” or “#FootballinLibya”) and “#hattrick” in the description of the video to allow other people looking for football videos to see it. This way, we could increase the chances that professional sports scouts might view our videos.

Hashtags are especially useful for advocacy projects. Following a devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanese people took to social media to offer up their homes to those displaced by the blast by using the hashtag #OurHomesAreOpen in both English and Arabic.

There are many other examples of using hashtags for advocacy around the world. For example, Middle Eastern and North African women took to social media with the hashtag #TheHabibatiTag to celebrate their ethnicity and challenge beauty standards.

Share additional examples of local hashtags that are used to spread important messages on digital platforms. The goal of this example is to educate students on hashtags and how they can be used to advocate for a cause.


When you are advocating for a cause, using hashtags is a great way to reach an audience with your ideas. In the following exercise, we will explore the use of hashtags on social media.


Part 1


Organize students into pairs.


In teams of two, find a hashtag that has recently been used to promote a cause. Once you find a hashtag, review the conversations taking place, and in your team, come up with a short summary of what is being discussed. You will present this summary orally to the rest of the group. You will have 15 minutes to find a hashtag and come up with a summary.


Give students 15 minutes to work. Once they are finished, allow for 15 minutes for each pair to present their summaries to the group.

  • What kind of content is being shared using the hashtags?
  • Are there similar conversations happening under these different hashtags? Why do you think this is/is not happening?
  • Do some hashtags seem to be more effective (e.g., more likely to be reposted) than others? Which ones? Why?

Part 2


Now, come up with an issue that is important to your pair and:

  • Create a hashtag for it.
  • Design an image, infographic, meme, chart, or graph to promote your hashtag.
  • With your partner, discuss various ways that you can spread your hashtag through a network. What are some successful strategies we learned from examining other hashtags?

You will have 30 minutes to complete this exercise.


Give students 30 minutes to engage in this exercise with their partner. Afterward, allow 20 minutes for pairs to discuss, with the larger group their hashtag, accompanying visual, and ideas for spreading the hashtag.

End Lesson

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