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There is no telling what the power of social media can do... #BringBackOurGirls


Unbeknownst to some advocates and caring activist, critics sprinkled ridicule in the media regarding the effectiveness a growing social campaign called #BringBackOurGirls.

I learned about the 279 Nigerian girls who were forcefully kidnapped from a school in the remote North-East of Nigeria by Islamist insurgency group known as Boko Haram on Instagram. Most readers were naive to earlier incidents of attacks and violence which left a number of civilians dead. Like for many, if it had not been for a social media postings, the issues Nigeria is facing may never have caught the public's attention.

In comparison to countless well documented social media revolutions, #BringBackOurGirls is not much different. Social media has been known to air out the dirty laundry of leaders, regimes, political officials, and pop stars. This may be one of the reasons that social media has been an intricate force infused in awareness and monopolizing the average “Joe’s” power to harness change in the social culture today.

Historically, the timeline has shown there is power in people connecting and sharing content.

-In June 2009, the Tehran protest in Iran when the people protested an election in Iran, the Iranian government cracked down on media reports, but demonstrators used Twitter to further a “Twitter Revolution.” At one point it was mandated that Twitter postpone scheduled maintenance to provide people with a communication channel, sort of a life line to share information.

-January 2011 the uprising in Tunisa, Egypt, Syria, Libya, and other countries used Facebook and Twitter to organize protests.

-2011 Occupy Wall Street gains momentum and supporters through social media which leads to nationwide protests latter in the year.

-November 2012 Obama and Michelle tweeted a picture of themselves. The public retweeted it almost 800,000 times. Also in 2012, Israel Defense forces live tweeted a military conflict against Hamas in Gaza.

There are many more examples from disaster relief in from the earthquake in Haiti, hurricane Sandy in the North, tornado's in the Midwest to political revolutions, protests, and organized awareness campaigns throughout the world. To date high profile celebrities and public officials have also chimed in with signs that promote the #BringOurGirlsBack campaign. People like Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mary J. Blige and President Barrack Obama are just a few to name.

The point of this historical reference is to correlate social media and other digital 2.0 effectiveness
in organizing real action. From the White House to Monday May 12th’s Rallyin front of City Hall in New York City. It is through social media that women in Nigeria were able to catch the world’s attention.

People all over the country are standing up to put pressure on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to be proactive in the matter. It is believed with out the strong presence of the outside world, nothing much would have been done to return the young girls safely back home.

With a crucial election for Goodluck Jonathan around the corner, he has no choice but to hear the world’s dismay about the lack of adequate laws, resources, and concern to protect young girls and women in Nigeria.

People gathered with public advocate Letitia "Tish" James, City Council member Mattieu Eugene, speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Brooklyn College Political Science Professor Mojubaolu Okome, Bishop Dr. Jonathan Owhe, and a host of additional concerned leaders and citizens to discuss #BringBackOurGirls and what the public can do to support.

Social media has been instrumental in bringing awareness to #BringBackOurGirls campaign. As pictures and video was taken, people shared their point of view, conversed, and creatively poured out a message that announced “Our Nigerian Girls Matter”. These girls are mine and yours, our sisters, aunts, and daughters.



This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »



Greengirl's picture

Nice piece, Rochelle.

The power of the internet and social media in fostering change cannot be overemphasized. It is impressive that you highlighted a number of issues in different countries which the world may probably never have known about without the Web. It is also very obvious that you have become very knowledgeable about happenings in my country- Nigeria due to your having informed access to this world transforming technology. We are all so connected and can be heard!

Thank you for sharing and using your piece to echo our deepest outcry at the moment in our nation. I know that the world is standing by us as we wait earnestly for the safe return of our abducted girls: daughters,sisters, friends, neighbours....... Yes, Our Nigerian Girls Matter!


Rochelle White's picture

Thank you Greengirl!!

Today we are marching from #NigeriaHouse to the United Nations building. I am recording footage and will def send to you. It is through technology that our revolution will be televised and shared.

Keep your head up Greengirl.. It's only a matter of time

God Bless You



Greengirl's picture

More Grace and Strength to you!

More grace and strength to you Rochelle! The support against the abduction and terrorism which my country has continued to enjoy from across is tremenduos. Amazing peolple like you represent that support.

I am glad to know about the peaceful protests which you'll be participating in. I really look forward to getting the video as promised. Just yesterday, I also participated in a #bring backbackourgirls campaign in Abuja, yesterday. I plan on sharing the highlights of the event in a journal post by tomorrow. Loads of pictures too!

We will keep hope alive and believe God for the safe rescue of the girls.


Bharti Singh Chauh's picture

Best of Luck

Amazing Write Up & good Luck for your

Do spare some time to read my article too


Rochelle White's picture

Thank You Bharti

Thank you so much for reading.. I am looking over your article now!!!

Take Care

God Bless



Bharti Singh Chauh's picture


Thanks dear
U can also like our work

PohChing's picture

Global Citizens

The least that global citizens or internet activists can do to help fellow girls and their mothers ( women ) is to spread the word around as sometimes basing just merely on appeals as country citizens directly to own governments, may just have its limits as to the help that is eventually rendered.

Rochelle White's picture


Agreed... The people have power whether they believe it or not in masses.. Social media and technology helps to bring the masses together because it connects us, educates us, and represents us all over the world.




I agree that the power of social media is changing the way how the world connects with one another. When I grew up, news was broadcast on three channels at certain times during the day. The 24 hour news channels changed that with providing stories about what was going in the world at anytime of the day. Now with the internet and social media, a story can go out instantaneously, catching the public's attention sooner than it ever has before. It is also being told through the eyes of the average person, not a broadcaster making the stories more relatable. Which is why I think people are starting to feel they too can be part of making a change in the world.


PohChing's picture


The rise of the influence of how internet is being used, is really changing the world. However, most parts of the world and population either do not have access to it or are illiterate to use this powerful tool. The lack of access can be due to financial inabilities to afford to do so or media control within a country. if the rate of internet usage can be increased and reaching more people, the impacts will be greater and a great lot of information and news can be spread a lot, building a more interconnected world and a global village. How to do so? A lot needed to be done..........

Julia O'Byrne's picture

So true!

Hi Rochelle,
It was great reading your perspective of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign and how important it is. Your overview of the importance social media has in big movements was also a great reminder of social media's power. From reading the other comments, it's very cool you are also participating in marches about bringing these girls back.
Thank you for sharing.
Best wishes,

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