How Northridge is Being Shaped by Technology During Covid-19

For my community needs proposal, I was first very nervous and unsure of how to go about things. This is mostly due to the fact that I am not too sure where my community lies. I was born in Santa Barbara, moved to Santa Maria, Australia to study, and now am at Northridge while my family is scattered across the states and my parents are living in a different country. I’ve mostly found my own communities within my friends, but I have decided to get out of my comfort zone and explore more of Northridge and use it as my current “community.”

Something that strikes me about Northridge is the great diversity of people and cultures and everything it has to offer. According to The Northridge Group, a leading management firm, 68% of consumers increased online shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic. While online shopping is certainly important, I am curious about how else Northridge residents have been saved by technology during Covid 19.

For this project, I want to reach out to a variety of people. This includes business owners, neighbors, students, and teachers. By grabbing a variety of sources and perspectives, I plan to get some amazing stories and feedback from the community. The question I am going to ask the community will be, “ What is a time you remember during this pandemic where technology has saved you, and do you feel humans have become too dependent on it, or that it is here to save us?”

Some of the types of questions I would like to ask the community include:

  1. Where have you found yourself using the most technology during the pandemic?

With these questions, I plan to document how technology has helped my community during the pandemic

The #MeToo Movement was an extremely successful social media campaign, mainly holding place on Twitter. The famous campaign gives a voice to those who would have otherwise remained silent. It listened to people by being easily accessible and an easy trend to hop on to. It effectively engages the audience in the discussion by requiring their own personal experiences. With Twitter’s ability to see all people’s responses by checking the thread, it makes it too easy to stay connecting by just reading all the replies and comments.

Along with that, the hashtag is simply revolutionary and is the main key to keeping an audience engaged. The hashtag keeps anyone who clicks on it engaged instantly by bringing an individual to a place full of the topic, with people from all over sharing their own experiences and stories, while encouraging others to do the same.

I believe this example could be of great use in the San Fernando Valley because engagement with the audience is so crucial. Without engagement and input from your community, are you really reporting within it, or just on the outside?

A post from October 11th, 2021, showing its relevance today

This photo shows the campaign is still to this day in action, although it was technically “created” on October 17th in 2017. And still, many years later, it is alive and thriving.

The top post currently under #MeToo on Twitter

I think a similar engagement template could be efficient in the San Fernando Valley because what the valley really needs from its news media is audience engagement. More audience engagement equals more representation within the community.

According to Pew Research, it is quite clear that the number of adults using social media keeps on climbing and has drastically increased.

It is clear to see from the graph that we are experiencing peak social media use, so why not use it to our advantage when it comes to journalism? In HootSuite’s “How to Use Hashtags in 2021: A Quick and Simple Guide for Every Network” we can learn a lot of how and why they are effective in engaging people. Hashtags can give people the opportunity to build brand awareness, show support for social issues, add context to a post and help your target audience find you. Helping your target audience, such as San Fernando Valley, be able to find you is probably one of the most important things to do when trying to report on the community.

When looking at The San Fernando Valley Sun’s Twitter page, there is very minimal engagement. It seems as though 2017 was their last post, and it didn’t seem to reach many people either. Although one obvious solution would be to get back onto Twitter because it is one of the most widely used social media in the world and especially to get news, there are steps to be taken other than just “rejoining.”

A great start would be taking the #MeToo Movement example, and the campaign’s use of the hashtag. A hashtag that any resident in the valley can relate to would help bring in more people. In specific, my plan would be to integrate my proposal question and add relevant hashtags on Twitter to capture attention. It might go a little something like this:

Tweet: “What specific technologies have you found yourself using more of in the pandemic? #SFV #SanFernandoValley #Covid19 #Technology “

By using these hashtags, we will be able to reach a wider target audience, and one of relevance to our topic.

From looking at their Facebook account, it is clear there is much more engagement going on. Not only are they active, but they are reaching a decent audience with some posts. Something I have seen do really well on their page is their use of an inverted pyramid. In journalism, the inverted pyramid is when you put your most important information of a story on top, and then the rest of the details follow after. This is a great strategy for dishing out the news because it quickly captures people’s attention and leaves them wanting to read more.

Although their Instagram shows a couple of thousand followers, their engagement does not seem to represent that. What I did notice right off the bat is that their posts with great candid photos and an attached story are doing the best for them, and it is understandable why. Videos also seem to be the most popular among their audience, racking in a good amount of views.

By combining the strategies of hashtagging, using the inverted pyramid, and great visuals, it is clear that engagement is bound to rise. This is all about representation and using the voices of the community to enhance our work and in turn, benefit everyone. Gathering your audience through the use of these strategies should make for successful and well-connected research.

CSUN Photojournalism student with a passion for telling stories through photos