Just as the news media has learned to go online to alert readers when news breaks out, so too can school leaders use social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about the successes of their students and the decisions of boards and superintendents.
“Some folks get spooked by the Twitter because of its 140-character limit for messages,” said Brad Hughes of the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA). “But you are really just writing a headline for the rest of the story, which can be a full-length document that is linked to from the Twitter post. Put the document on a website, create a link and then you’re ready to tease with your Twitter post, and give all the information you need in the linked document.”
Hughes, who manages KSBA’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube services to members, offered a series of tips in a Sunday morning full workshop on social media, followed by an afternoon Learning Lounge abbreviated session. Among his recommendations:
# “Keep it professional. If you have a personal Facebook page (I do), fine, but on the board member or district Facebook page, it should be all business about education.”
# “Try to post something every day. People have almost limitless online resources to use to stay in the know, so you’ve got to give them fresh information on a regular basis.”
# “Promote the social media sites in your print materials, business cards, e-mail signature lines, primary websites — anywhere you may otherwise be driving people for information.”
# “Consider carefully the issue of allowing others to react and post to your social media site. Again, it’s one thing on a personal page you allow friends to read and respond. It’s another for you to create an official information tool and the open it up to critics for their two cents’ worth.”