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Mia Kuumba, of the District of Columbia, brandishes a wooden stick during a rally in front of the Nigerian embassy in northwest Washington, Tuesday, May 6, 2014, protesting the kidnapping of nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls, abducted from a school in the remote northeast of Nigeria three weeks ago. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(HOUSTON) — The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls exploded on social media, but did it make any real difference?

After 250 girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria, the Nigerian government faced criticism for waiting weeks to ask for international assistance.

RELATED: Nigeria Won’t Negotiate Prisoner Exchange for Kidnapped Girls

When the news broke, the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls picked up momentum worldwide.

Dr. Garth Jowett is a communications professor at the University of Houston. He said the attention garnered by social media embarrassed the government and forced it to act.

“The fact that this thing went viral internationally the way it did, the fact that people are holding vigils throughout the world, the mere fact that it’s gone so internationally viral, that’s put the pressure on the Nigerian government,” Jowett said. “They’re now under the microscope, and they have to do something.”

He said it’s a sign of the impact social media has in today’s world.

“It does demonstrate that under the right circumstances in a righteous situation like this, a phenomenon like the hashtag and the Twitter phenomenon and other forms of social media can be very powerful influences,” Jowett said.

The Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram is taking credit for the kidnapping. Its leader plans to sell the girls into marriages and slavery.

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#BringBackOurGirls: The True Power of a Hashtag  was originally published on