Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Social Media & Schools: Why?

So why should we be part of social media?  We could look at one of a number of areas and have a great reason to jump in and each one is worthy!  Let's make a quick list:
  • As an additional communication platform - get your message out in every way possible!
  • Because you were told - hopefully this means you have a boss or administration that values innovation and using current and relevant tools!
  • To connect with parents and/or students where they interact - the saying is "build it and they will come".  Well, in this case, it is already built, people are there and we need to go meet them there!
  • To tell your school's story - "story" is a word that is increasingly used in marketing circles.  At Timberview and Eagle Ridge, we jumped in to tell our story so that we were exercising the control of the narrative shared!
We are an increasingly digital society and, as schools, we are often on the back end of of progress (in that respect) and innovations as well as leveraging innovation to impact learning and connections.  One of the key points in the included video (I encourage you to watch it. It's good!) in regards to social media has to do with it's not whether we do it or not it's how well we do it.  This is absolutely true!  Social media provides us an amazing opportunity to be transparent and virtually open the doors to our schools and classrooms and show our parents and community the amazing things that are happening!  In this way we are taking control of the story being told about our schools, we are building a school brand that is representative of what we believe and developing and refining an identity that our people connect to.  And our community connects with the school because they feel that they are apart of the story being told.

With all of those things shared, there are two "why's" that may not be quite as apparent:
  • We gain permission. With social media we are getting the word "out there".  In the linked post, Jiwa talks about gaining permission to speak into lives.  Guess what?  Schools and teachers do not have the legitimate authority we once had as humorously (or not so humorously in these moments) depicted here.  There must be a relationship established in order for schools to say and share the hard messages that must be delivered sometimes!
  • We can change how people feel.  One of my favorite Bernadette Jiwa quotes is "Don't just go out there and change what people think, go out and change how they feel, then what they do."  Watch the linked TED talk and she makes a brilliant and compelling argument!  I completely understand that this goes well beyond just social media, but I believe 100% that social media is a powerful tool to this end!  The feeling of connectedness is powerful!  Maybe, just maybe, if we are able to connect to our communities at a deeper level we can begin to shift this overall narrative that paints public school in a negative light because our community feels connected to our schools.
I know for certain that we cannot expect social media to be the "thing" that makes it all work out for us.  Social media can be the tool and a backdrop of our school identity: it can establish and support our brand, it can demonstrate the powerful instruction and learning taking place within our walls, it can engage our community and enrich our campus culture, as well as exemplify and promote our mission and vision!

Happy posting!


No comments:

Post a Comment