By Annie Johnson
As a young girl from East Tennessee, my original thoughts about Mississippi can be described in two words: Southern and traditional. Today, I still strongly believe those words describe this state.
Finishing my second year of college soon, I can’t help but think about how I hold Mississippi so dear to my heart, and I can’t imagine where I would be without the experiences and relationships this town and state have provided me.
Oxford and the University of Mississippi are special to my family. Being from Knoxville, my parents never expected to send all three of their children to Mississippi for college.
When my oldest brother first asked my parents to tour Oxford for college, my parents were baffled that he even considered attending a college in “the middle of nowhere” Mississippi. Now, I am very thankful that my brother attended toured Ole Miss, because my family and I might not have discovered this wonderful small town.
To say my family has fallen in love with Oxford is an understatement. We know we will continue to visit this place for the rest of our lives.
In the media, people perceive Mississippi as a Southern, traditional, poor, and sometimes racist state. Being from out of state, I believe these people may have never visited Mississippi and judge it based on the state’s past, which I believe is unfair.
Yes, some aspects are correct, but the media could portray the state much better than they usually do. I believe there is a way to bring Mississippians together to showcase how cool it really is.
After researching several marketing campaigns, I have decided to create the hashtag: #MyMississippi. I would take a week and ask a friendly stranger: “What is your favorite thing about Mississippi?”
By doing this, I realized everyone has their own ideas about the state with a backstory and details. Therefore, I decided to create my marketing campaign as a simple hashtag that could be used with a reason why people love Mississippi.
#MyMississippi could be the slogan for broad things, such as commercials, advertisements, flyers, etc. People could make it personal posting on their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
The campaign would ideally be promoted by a diverse audience. To start, I would originally post why I love #MyMississippi, then encourage my friends and family to post and spread the hashtag.
I used my hashtag campaign and posted an Instagram photo of a sunset that I took at one of my favorite spots in town. After doing this, a few friends asked about the hashtag. I told them the story, and some did the same, sharing a fond memory of their life in Mississippi.
I want people to use this hashtag to promote happiness and love in the state regardless of the scandal or news flashing on our news screens every day. I believe this hashtag could help someone realize the good in their every day life, but I want the hashtag campaign to result in a more personal and respectful way of portraying the state.
If this campaign went viral, I believe the country would see a more personal view of the state from everyone in Mississippi, and they would realize the media does not know all.
Posters, events, social media, commercials, and public speaking would be my next move. I would reach out, share the campaign, and I hope others would too.
This project has opened my eyes about Mississippi. After reading our prompt, I took time to really consider things about this state that I love and cherish.
I never believed I would live anywhere except Knoxville, but Oxford, Mississippi has become my second home because of all the experiences, memories, and friendships I have made. That’s why I consider this state: #MyMississippi.