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#MySouthBend aims for community engagement through social media

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced Tuesday a new social media campaign that would share the city with the world.

“The hashtag #MySouthBend Instagram campaign is an opportunity for anybody who has an eye for what’s going on in the city to help draw attention to what they think is worth a look,” said Mayor Buttigieg.

Under this new initiative, the city would promote photos taken around town tagged with the hashtag.

Mayor Buttigieg says this is also a way to attract young talent to the area.

“One of the things we focused on was a reason for people to stay here, live here and move here,” he said.

What better way to reach them than through Instagram?

So far, the hashtag has been used under nearly 400 posts.

One of the driving forces behind this movement never imagined it would take off like it has.

“It’s a really exciting way for us to really build interest in town,” said Ann-Marie Conrado. “And it’s a way to get people to go out and really discover South Bend through this campaign.”

The initiative started out in Conrado’s class.

She teaches at Notre Dame and tasked her students with exploring all the city has to offer.

Click play below to learn what motivated this project:

Many of her students organically connected with folks like Matthew Stackowicz, Jacob Titus, Ryan Kiner and Zachary Nelson.

“The most important aspect to me of communities like this is really the other people,” said Nelson.

Nelson took to photography in his spare time and found a community of photographers also interest in taking pictures of the city.

About a year ago, Titus and Stackowicz decided to round up other social media artists for an Instagram meet up.

One year later, South Bend is helping facilitate those gatherings by offering historic buildings for those artists to utilize.

“We find this city as beautiful, as inspiring, as innovative and we want to capture that and share it with the world,” said Stackowicz.

Many of them drew thousands of eyes on their photos, so they decided to use their platform to shine the spotlight on positive images around the city.

“It gives other people access to those beautiful buildings through our media,” said Kiner. “They can kind of see it from our vantage points and they can share in those moments throughout the city of where we’re highlighting.”

Now that the city is involved, they believe this campaign has the potential to go viral.

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