Portland Harbor Community Coalition (PHCC) works to promote the voices and values of those most marginalized in the community surrounding the Portland Harbor Superfund site. They also work to promote the clean-up and restoration of the Portland Harbor Superfund site. Our group has partnered with PHCC in an effort to promote their actions and values to a broader array of individuals. We spoke with Cassie Cohen, the executive director of PHCC, which allowed us to get a better sense of what we could do as a group that would be the most beneficial and helpful for PHCC. After speaking with Cassie, we decided that our energy would be best spent helping them create an Instagram page for their coalition. The Instagram page will be extremely beneficial for the coalition because most of their social media pages are either inactive or nonexistent. This will also allow them to reach a broader audience when communicating their mission and values. They will be able to target a younger audience now as well which Cassie expressed that they lacked. She informed us that they never really have any information or outreach specifically for a younger generation of individuals. Because of this she thought that building an Instagram page for PHCC was an excellent idea and would help reach a greater audience than they have been able to in the past.
We have established the issue or the “what” we are trying to give people information about, which is what PHCC ‘s mission and values are as well as what all they do for the community and the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. We have also identified the “who” or the actors that we are trying to engage with in this project which are primarily those that we are hoping to provide information to through the Instagram page. The ‘”how” then would be done through the Instagram page.
When creating the Instagram page for PHCC, it is important for us to make it look professional. The bio will have all of the important contact information pertaining to PHCC. This will include a link to the website, links to other social media pages, and a phone number that can be called to reach PHCC. The bio will also have a short sentence that states what PHCC is and their mission statement. When it comes to the type of content that the page will feature, we will likely focus on a variety of different things. It will include pictures of the Portland Harbor Superfund site, community members who have been helped by PHCC, the members of the PHCC, and other events that occur and PHCC takes part it. It will be important to display the different events that take place with the superfund site so the public is able to stay up to date about the progress that is being made on the site. PHCC also works to get comments from the public about the superfund site and what they want to see from it so the Instagram page will be really useful in reaching out to individuals and providing them with information about an event and then asking for their thoughts on it. This will be a good place to promote scientific findings that have to do with the superfund site including pollution levels and a number of other things. However, we will need to make sure that when we are presenting statistics and scientific research, we present it in such a manner that the public is able to easily understand, (Rakedzon, 2017). We do not want to overwhelm people with information that is not easy to understand if we wish to effectively promote our ideas. A lot of people find it easier to communicate and share their ideas through Instagram so it will be even easier now to get the public’s opinions and stances on certain issues, (Ting et al., 2015). Developing this Instagram page will be a great tool to communicate with a broader audience, especially a younger audience which is one of PHCC’s goals. Cassie discussed how they really do not engage with the younger generations much at all. Instagram is a platform that a lot of younger individuals use so it will be easy to target them when providing information to these broader groups. It has been found that social media platforms such as Instagram holds major opportunities to educate the public on bigger issues and scientific findings, (Jarreau, Dahmen, and Jones, 2019). Overall, this Instagram page will be key in getting more people engaged with PHCC and understanding what they do for the community surrounding the Portland Harbor Superfund site. It will also keep people up to date on the clean-up and restoration of the superfund site which is important so people know that their community is working to become cleaner and healthier. It will be important to ensure that returning classes are able to continue to run the account for PHCC so that it does not come to a stand still once summer arrives and the individuals running the account have graduated. We will need to reach out to future classes and others interested to make sure they have an strong idea about how to effectively run the account and continue to promote PHCC.
Jarreau, P. B., Dahmen, N. S. and Jones, E. (2019). ‘Instagram and the science museum: a missed opportunity for public engagement’. JCOM 18 (02), A06. https://doi.org/10.22323/2.18020206.
Rakedzon, Tzipora, Elad Segev, Noam Chapnik, Roy Yosef, and Ayelet Baram-Tsabari. 2017 “Automatic Jargon Identifier for Scientists Engaging with the Public and Science Communication Educators.” Plos One 12, no. 8: 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181742.
Ting, Hiram, Winne Wong Poh Ming, Ernest Cyril de Run, and Sally Lau Yin Choo. 2015. “Beliefs about the Use of Instagram: An Exploratory Study.” International Journal of Business and Innovation 2, no. 2: 15–31.