If you thought 2020 was an odd year, leave it to the first few weeks of 2021 to bring the “sea shanty” sing-along trend on social media video-sharing app, TikTok.
Lately, users have banded together to sing sea shanties, work songs once commonly sung to accompany labor on merchant sailing vessels.
Not to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, who decided to hop on the TikTok trend, with employees singing their own version of a popular sea shanty, with more than 1,000 views on their Twitter.
The sewer district, which has now changed its Twitter handle to “Sewer Shanty District,” said they have been on social media for a number of years now.
“As a utility, our work is not always top of mind of people,” said John Gonzales, the Communications Manager for The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
“Unless they’re paying a bill or if they are affected by our projects, it's tough to really grasp why our work matters…so I like to follow what is trending on the various platforms just to find out what are peoples’ interests, what are they following so we can relate to those topics in some way.”
The “sea shanty” trend stuck with Gonzales as soon as he saw it, so he partnered with their intern and frequent partner on social media, Kevin Harrison, to harmonize for their followers with a sewage spin.
“We were just glad to be relevant,” Gonzales said.
“The creativity there is just to show people our work is impacting them in some way and they’re connecting with it even if they don’t realize it.”
The sewage district’s video even caught the attention of other public utilities from states away, like the Seattle Public Utilities District, who joined their sewer shanty harmony.
They plan on continuing their social media journey, jumping on whatever trend it takes to keep connecting with their community.