In a generation where hashtags on social media are seen as platforms to make a topic relevant, whether good or bad, the ladies on Twitter created a hashtag known as GirlTalkZA to unite women in discussions about skin care, hair, make-up and other grooming-related topics.
The hashtag, on Twitter every Wednesday evening, has been trending since its creation some two years ago.
The creators of the hashtag, Thuli Zwane and Vuyi Zondi, said the platform enabled them to connect on a level of sisterhood with other women.
Zwane said the pair saw a demand for the talks after they had shared a few tips on Twitter a few times.
“We decided to go the online route because it’s easier to interact with the ladies like that, than sending them a link to go to a blog.”
The hashtag floods the timeline with ladies asking questions about things like product prices, beauty products, perfumes and products that could assist with hair loss.
Zondi said the hastag started in 2014 as Girltalk, “However the new hashtag #GirlTalkZA was formalised this year. The ZA was added to denote that it is a South African conversation, and to make it easier for Twitter users to filter through tweets and find the right tweets.”
Zondi added that the pair had been receiving positive feedback every week. “Each week a new topic has been discussed. The ladies have been sharing lots of knowledge using the tag. We encourage everyone to express themselves freely.”
Though the two did not deem themselves as experts, for them the hashtag had become an online “shopping list”.
Zwane said their topics tried to answer everyday issues women faced, from choosing the right lipstick, to making a homemade face scrub.
“The topics are beauty and grooming-related. We have tried to choose topics that most women can easily relate to. Past topics have been the cosmetic uses of castor oil; natural exfoliants and homemade scrubs; favourite beauty buys and makeup coverage products.”
However, Zwane also said the hashtag was a form of self-help platform, “We are saying to these ladies one product can be used up to five times, for example, we speak about how body scrubs or sugar can be used from exfoliating lips to assisting with cellulite.”
Zondi also added that through the hashtag, they had followers of the tag who had given them feedback of how the hashtag had helped them “with knowledge that they were too scared or shy to ask. It makes the knowledge and tips easily accessible.” The pair said they also wanted to showcase the fact that social media was not for negativity or political views only.
“Through the hashtag, we are trying to bring back that sisterhood. That social media is not only about negativity, you can still connect to the sister in uGugulethu (Cape Town) who had the same issues as you and can help each other through it,” said Zwane.
To make sure that the hashtag remained relevant, the pair said they reminded the ladies a week before about #Girltalkza “and we tell them what the topic will be. So they can also prepare for the hashtag. We trend because we are not the only ones giving out advice, everyone uses the hashtag to share what they know.”
The pair reminds participants that the hashtag does not give any specialist dermatological advice, but encourage participants to use personal judgement and exercise care.
“Regardless of where you are in the country, if you have a beauty and grooming question, someone out there has an answer. That’s what we love.”