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Social Media World Pleads For Missing Nigerian Schoolgirls

Nigeria Abductions: #BringBackOurGirls

There are currently over 200 schoolgirls missing in Nigeria, and in an attempt for their rescue, users on social media have been raising awareness. They are thought to have been abducted by militants in northern Nigeria, and so far the #BringBackOurGirls campaign has generated more than 360,000 tweets and retweets thus far, while even David Cameron has now joined the campaign.

Nigeria Abductions: #BringBackOurGirls
Source: cba.com

In regards to these figures, 160,000 tweets were from users who specified their location, to which more than half came from Nigeria, followed by the US, the UK, South Africa and other countries. This data was all generated by Crimson Hexagon data, and it shows that this story has gripped the western world.

High-profile public figures have also jumped on the bandwagon, with US singer Mary J Blige and the UK’s Jessie J tweeting about the story, thus generating a huge number of retweets from other users. By doing this, it demonstrates how social media can be utilised by celebrities who invest in supporting good causes as they also generate more traffic on their accounts.

As well as Twitter having a massive impact on this story, Facebook users have also been getting in on the act. A Facebook page entitled Bring Back our Girls was set up on the 26th of April, and already has 6,000 ‘Likes’.

Nigerian Twitter users who are closer to the issue have expressed dismay at the government’s part in the tragedy. It is thought that they have not done enough to rescue the girls, who have reportedly been taken to Sambisa forest. This is the location where the Islamist group, Boko Haram have many camps. If this is the case, and these facts are common knowledge, then surely the government should have acted quickly to ensure the safety of these young girls.

A few months ago, the Sambisa forest was not a household name for many Nigerians, but in the wake of the kidnappings, plus the social media noise around it, the forest has taken on a new symbolic image of terror. The location is almost mythical for many people within the Lake Chad basin who have come to align the complex north-eastern vegetation with Boko Haram.

Nigeria Abductions: #BringBackOurGirls

The families of the girls have now had some input, and have reportedly threatened to go into the forest themselves to try and locate their daughters. This is a massive moment for the government because unless they act with more conviction, the parents may decide to go into the forest, and the likelihood of fatalities will dramatically increase.

Whether the influence of social media will help in certain situations such as this remains to be seen. Despite the best intentions of high-profile pop stars, it defers attention away from the human aspect of this tragedy. The online community becomes a way of promoting the self as opposed to raising general awareness; it is social mediaintegrating reverse psychology.

On the other side of the coin, it is raising awareness around the world, and this could spark a seemingly static government into action. It will be fascinating to see whether this will grow on social media, and if it does then the pressure will build on the African Country to try and retrieve these girls safely. 


Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Social Media World Pleads For Missing Nigerian Schoolgirls Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, May 12, 2014 Rating: 5
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