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  • #Trashtag: The Social Media Phenomenon

    Saturday, April 6, 2019   /   by Jenny Carroll

    #Trashtag: The Social Media Phenomenon

    If you've spent any time on social media in the last month, you've seen the #trashtag meme pop up all over the internet. The idea appeared in early March as encouragement for "bored teens" to get off their phones and take action by cleaning up a public space while taking before and after photos to post online. Within days, the meme resulted in thousands of posts showing eager trash collectors bagging garbage all over the world, garnering well over 300,000 likes and shares.


    What started as a simple idea to clean up littered wilderness areas has blossomed into a movement to tackle not only natural spaces but urban centers, also. A quick search on your favorite social media platform will show just how excited folks are about making a difference. In a time where we frequently feel helpless to make any positive impact on the greater good, #trashtag empowers us to take action with visible results.

    When Bill Stanberry created Stanberry Realtors® back in 1982, he did so with the strong belief that giving back to the communities we serve is the lifeblood of a successful, family-oriented real estate brokerage. This movement is exactly the kind of responsibility he meant. It brings people together with a common purpose of making our home spaces and wild places beautiful for everyone to enjoy, increasing the value of our community and our relationships. Not only that, but it has the bonus effect of getting people off their screens, out of their homes, and face-to-face with their fellow citizens.


    The challenge now is to keep the mission alive rather than allowing it to fizzle out in true internet meme fashion. Because of the changing views on climate change as well as the effects of pollution in our environment, there is the chance for lasting success with this social media darling. It actually had its start from a 2015 call to action by ecological activist, Steven Reinhold, who posted a blog entry on Teton Gravity Research website, describing his recent activities cleaning up various wild locations such as Yosemite Valley and announcing the launch of the #trashtag project. (2019) "https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/trashtag" Granted, interest in the project has spiked since its resurgence on social media this month but if we can keep a positive spotlight on it for years to come the impact has a huge realistic potential for good.

    The social media platform, Reddit, has a long-time sub called r/detrashed with the expressed purpose as "a sub dedicated to environmental cleanup and general environmentalism, show us everything from trash you picked up while walking, major beach clean-ups, and even the native plants you planted to detrash the air." These ideas have the power to bring people together with meaning and philanthropy which, in our fractured society, we need more than ever. 

    Regardless of political persuasion or particular viewpoint, everyone can agree that a trashed out space will be remedied only when folks come together to do something about it. Giving of ourselves with our time and energy is the one guaranteed way to truly feel the glow of making a difference to our fellow man as well as our planet.

    Do you know of any places around your home, work, or community that could use the #trashtag or #detrash treatment? You can get out there by yourself or you can gather others to make your mark today. Don't forget to take before and after pictures, though. You've got to upload those to social media. Don't forget to tag your post with #trashtag so we can all see your success!