#TIMESUP: The Future of Online Activism?

Over the last few days, this stark letter of solidarity has been spreading like wildfire across the internet, shared by over 300 women working in Hollywood but with aims to go much further than that one industry.

Being an ostensibly online movement, it is hard not to compare it to the #MeToo movement that commanded people’s attention throughout the end of 2017. However, with a new year, comes a new outlook it seems.

#MeToo was originally started in 2007 by activist Tarana Burke, but it took the Weinstein scandal to bring it to the forefront of people’s minds once again, when Alyssa Milano called to her followers to share their own stories. Within 48 hours, the hashtag had been used over a million times, and over 12 million Facebook posts included it. This campaign was all about raising awareness, and indeed it did. 45% of Facebook users in the US said that they knew someone who had shared a story accompanied by the hashtag.

#TIMESUP is the follow-up movement, designed not just to show the pervasive spread of sexual harassment and assault in seemingly every industry, but also with a call to action. Having only been active for two days at the time of writing, TIME’S UP has amassed over 122k followers between Instagram and Twitter, rivalling the furore that took place in the first 48 hours of #MeToo. Yet this time, the women of Hollywood who brought this movement into the spotlight are not only calling out for voices across the globe to speak out, valuable as that is. TIME’S UP have detailed their intent to effect legal change across different countries, industries, and backgrounds.

Is this the way forward for online activism? It has long since been proven that attention can be grabbed with the right face attached to a movement and enough luck to get your hashtags established in the algorithms, but will it play out and effect the change that TIME’S UP pledges to achieve? Only time will tell, but here’s hoping it tells more than words on a screen.

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