Too often we see potential visitors reluctant to self-identify as science lovers—or worse, believing they simply aren’t natural history fans. Do you love living? Do you navigate the world with open eyes? Then we believe you’re a natural history fan, and the Field Museum’s Instagram account is here to convince you.
When executed successfully social media is a telephone, not a megaphone. It’s a way for us to invite the general public into conversation with our organization and mission. The Field’s Instagram initiates that conversation in several ways: every day, approachable language doesn’t dumb down the science but explains that, for instance, “whales are aquatic mammals, or cetaceans, and therefore have the same kind of forelimb bones as humans.” Allusions to timely events, pop-culture references, and humor infuse our witty voice with humanity and further invite dialogue with our followers and other organizations. This relatable voice vivifies the mission of an institution over 125 years old.
We use Instagram’s various functionality to reach people in numerous ways. Eye-catching imagery in our feed stops people in their scroll, prompting them to take a longer look. Quirky observations and engagement prompts in our Instagram Stories reveal our playful side. Longer videos on IGTV feature our relatable museum staff on the job and show scientists that break the white cis male mold. These elements coalesce into a medium that lowers the barrier to an all-too-often intimidating world and exhibits that science is truly for everyone. From there, an Instagram “like” can transform into a visit, expand into a membership, and develop into a life-long love of the natural world.
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