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Expanding SCEC Engagement: New Social Media Approaches with the Public and New Connections with Member Institutions

Cameron T. Fetter, Bryan A. Castillo, & Mark Benthien

Submitted September 11, 2022, SCEC Contribution #12334, 2022 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #277

Ensuring that the general public and our schools are informed of earthquake hazards is one of the utmost priorities of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) Communication Education, and Outreach program. The main goal of this project was to build toward more public engagement via social media in addition to facilitating better connections with our institutions. We focused heavily on gathering specific institution resources to aid in this process. We created a database with contact information as well as educational resources and activities for SCEC’s institutions within California (as a start). The database includes information for each institution's SCEC representative, department chair, education and outreach program, emergency managers, etc. This information will ensure good connections with our schools and the education and outreach activities that the institutions have to offer. As the database will likely be expanded upon, it will have various other uses in years to come such as coordinating other community projects and expanding resources for internships. In the near future, the database will also help in finding potential screening locations for SCEC’s new film, Quake Heroes.

Another large component of this project was finding ways to revamp SCEC’s social media accounts. This entailed more frequently scheduled posts across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Additionally, this project saw the creation of two accounts on a new platform, TikTok, for both SCEC and ShakeOut. These accounts will be used to target a broader audience as Tik Tok’s video algorithm gives content a better chance of getting attention than the previously mentioned platforms. TikTok allows creators to upload short 3-minute videos, with easy-to-use editing features and visual effects. A variety of video themes and such as SCEC scientist interviews, earthquake safety tips, general earthquake information, etc. will be utilized on the SCEC account. The Tik Tok for Shakeout will feature instructions and registration promotion for 2022 ShakeOut drills and potentially start a trend where Tik Tok users Drop, Cover, and Hold On to spread awareness. The same content that is posted on SCEC’s Tik Tok channels can also be recycled across other platforms to increase engagement across the board. In time, all aspects of this project will continue to set the stage for better communications within the SCEC community and enlarge our overall social media presence.

Fetter, C. T., Castillo, B. A., & Benthien, M. (2022, 09). Expanding SCEC Engagement: New Social Media Approaches with the Public and New Connections with Member Institutions. Poster Presentation at 2022 SCEC Annual Meeting.

Related Projects & Working Groups
Communication, Education, and Outreach (CEO)