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How a Hashtag Changed the World by Anna McAfee

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

✦ Bridging the human connection gap in a post pandemic world

Global movements have to start somewhere and often start on kitchen tables, which this one did. And hashtags tend to be born on Instagram, but this one did not. #LinkedInLocal stunned the followers of this social movement.

Anna McAfee and Book, How a hashtag changed the world, featured on Brilliant-Online
Anna McAfee with her Book - How a Hashtag Changed the World

Back in June 2017 a single LinkedIn user, Anna McAfee in Coffs Harbour, Australia, started a local meetup hashtagging it #LinkedInLocal. Within hours her post was seen by Erik Eklund in Brussels, Alexandra Galviz in London and Swish Goswami in NYC who all followed Anna’s lead, and swiftly after by 650 cities in 92 countries in less than two years.

So what is #LinkedInLocal? Well it’s a simple request that you down your sales pitches and embrace the people who live on your doorstep for who they are and not their often too polished LinkedIn profile.

The response was ridiculous but Anna and the other co-founders had the mantle to respond, providing the support, encouragement and enthusiasm that was needed to make this movement global, truthful and free.

LinkedIn users created a grassroots global user community united by the idea of getting to know the people behind the LinkedIn profiles, highlighting the importance of connection in our hyper digital world.

The impact on careers and building a sense of belonging was profound, and demonstrates how a group of thoughtful human beings can unite communities and use social media for good. The book shares over 50 human stories of authentic connection, profound career change, and social impact at a local and global level.

LinkedIn picked up the gauntlet in March 2019, and whilst its value system has been watered down with the release of its guidance terms, it continues in individual cities across the world. Many groups during the pandemic have moved their meet ups to online, or launched new online gatherings. Some are now emerging again back in person and are engaging and supporting their networks locally in a different way.

‘How a Hashtag Changed the World’ is a book shares the lessons for building user communities, activating local ambassadors, and how we can view social media in the future - as a vehicle to embrace diversity and bridge the human connection gap in a post pandemic world when we are able to gather again.


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