What really is “Comet Culture?”

Ruhi Kaneria | The Chronicle

Kelly green. A comet logo. The capital M. Branding, social media and marketing is a key component to building a school image. Using marketing, administration and students can create a unique identity that can stand out in the community. Mason City Schools is no stranger to strategic marketing. Just think of the usage of space terms such as “Cosmic” or “Black Hole,” or key words like “Mason Moment” that are often incorporated into the school’s lifestyle and social media. This. image of Mason has been so deeply integrated into our school culture that many students are unphased by these terms and this branding.

But, I believe it is only fitting to turn a contemplative eye toward Mason marketing. How much of what we see and hear in public branding is truly embodied by our school and how do we battle sharing genuine accomplishments and moments versus advertising the ‘good’ images to the public?

Social media, marketing and the creation of an identity when used in an authentic setting can no doubt be a smart and powerful tool to share Mason’s achievements, academics and athletics with other people in the community. It can also be a place to spotlight underrepresented groups and promote good student work. But I believe it is more important for a school to be authentic. For example, what is truly a “Mason Moment?” Is it an authentic gesture of students and staff or a marketing term coined to make an interaction into a sellable story? What about “Comet Culture?” Does this term signify a genuine fostering of a culture or is it just another ‘key word’ with little importance created to become a

I am in no way saying that the administration is warping our school image. Positive club spotlighting and unity due to a branding certainly exists within the school. However, I am asking that everyone be mindful of what they interpret on social media when they see such phrases and images over and over. I understand that it is a good thing for schools to share and promote good work and that it is a necessary step to be taken to create an identity for themselves. But is it really necessary to take photos with students to make them feel heard or promote a certain culture, when in reality, these people and ideas may be left unforgotten outside of an Instagram square? I believe that being in a moment is more important than sharing it out to other uninvolved people. I believe that an accepting culture between students and teachers doesn’t need to be coined into a single term.

I am proud of Mason. I am proud to be a Comet. I am proud of my diversity and culture. But, I believe there is still room for improvement in the way we can use branding, social media and marketing. I know that such items are necessary to maintain a presence in the community, however I ask that rather than scrolling past a post from Mason, let’s focus on actually embodying those values. Rather than being the school presented in an Instagram square or a tagline, let’s be the school who truly displays a culture and shares authentic moments.