Using Social Media for Long-haul Activism: Lessons from the BBOG Movement in Nigeria

The Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) is a women-led, spontaneous movement that erupted in Nigeria following the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram terrorists in 2014. It soon gained widespread presence on the streets but even more online. The BBOG remains a unique movement in contemporary Africa in that it is women-led and depends on bold confrontation offline and viral advocacy online. The objective of the BBOG is clear: pressure the government to rescue and return all the abductees safely. The movement has recorded remarkable achievements such as the return of over 100 girls and the priming of the plight of the remaining girls. The demand for the release of the abductees, has, however developed a life of its own as many other actors now continue to promote the issue even when the BBOG appears to be fatigued and silent. The movement’s use of social media is most probably responsible for this.