I have asked my students to summarize some of their first trimester’s work in a blog post. Over the next week, I will share some of them on here. – RM

My name is Simba Chen, I am a member of the Searching for Slavery class. My responsibility is to man the class twitter account. This trimester, I am going to also establish a class Instagram. When I first enrolled in this class, I didn’t know what to expect. Mr. Mokriski knew of my passion for advertisement and marketing, so he asked me if I wanted to be responsible for managing social media for the course. This idea immediately piqued my interest.   

First, I researched the best way to push information and make it easily accessible. We decided on Twitter because not only could we publish our findings, but we could also use it as a tool to ask for help and promote other events. We quickly realized that platform required us to keep our information short and to the point while also updating it frequently in order to keep it relevant. After we made the account, we had to research and quickly follow accounts that were related to our class – historians, historical societies, educators, authors – that would either be interested in promoting our work or providing material that would help our research. 

Not being involved in any specific project meant that I needed to learn from and work with every group so we could create the best tweet. So, I had to approach each group as a learner. They had to meet to provide me with what they had. My toughest task was pushing them to distill their learning in 280 characters or less. Later I would take that and use the all-important hashtags, and @s to specifically target those who might be interested and engage our posts by liking or retweeting it. Within the first week of our first official post, we gained approximately 100 followers. 

It was not long before historians reached out to offer information that helped some groups discover exciting new material. We had multiple retweets from famous people in this industry – one even from a Ted Talk historian that we had viewed in class! We were able to gain more than 2000 engagements on one of our Venture Smith posts.  

Our next goal is to create an Instagram filled with interesting pictures and captions. We will also utilize the stories feature to push out daily teasers about our ongoing projects and possibly use Instagram Live to teach people this hard history and allow them to learn it in an easier way.  

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