Remembrance Day have experienced a social media overhaul this year. Media outlets have been publicizing the #Nov11Globe and #poppypride hashtags in order to get readers to share how they are spending Remembrance Day. This sort of attention seems out of place during a time in which people should be concentrating on the remembering as opposed to getting the right shot, but as we all know pictures tell a story, and if that story is not present on social media, it doesn’t exist.
Veterans seem to be into this whole sharing experience on social media. According to students at Dawson College “we can use this to instill a bit more of the spirit of Remembrance Day”. But is this really the case? While a hashtag and social media campaign may get the message out there, it doesn’t actually have very much to do with the focus of Remembrance.
The spirit of Remembrance Day is in fact quite a somber one, something that is completely disconnected from the smiling students taking selfies with veterans. The fact that this is getting so much attention on social media is a prime example of how trending topics can promote even the most ridiculous movements.
Social media platforms are good at getting images trending, but a little less effective at actually explaining content or why a certain hashtag is trending. A better example of social media engagement with Remembrance Day is the 2011 campaign in which Twitter users were encouraged to participate in a two-minute social media silence in order to commemorate Remembrance Day.
Better still is the Facebook page “Click Like To Support Remembrance Day”. The page, which has everything from daily stories and photos of veterans as well as a sidebar in which people can share their personal stories of relatives who have served, strikes a much better chord with readers. Not only is this a more engaging way to post Remembrance Day content on social media, it really exemplifies the proper message. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Remembrance Day isn’t all about the poppy or #poppypride, but real people with real stories. In this way, social media interfaces have allowed for a plethora of personal stories to be shared, and this is what we remember for, not for the poppy or even the country, but for those who served and those who were lost.