Social Media Use by (Public) Schools #edreform

I jumped into an interesting Twitter conversation last night between Dean Shareski, Karl Fisch, Chris Lehmann, and several others about how and why schools might use Twitter. Dean kicked off the discussion with this:

At the end of the conversation, both Karl and Dean summarized their feelings well.

Even though Dean and Karl may have felt they were on opposite sides of the argument, I think their combined points illustrate four truths about Twitter use by schools. Namely:
  1. Different people find different purposes and uses for Twitter.
  2. Districts (and schools) who use social media to only broadcast are missing out on a valuable opportunity to engage with their patrons.
  3. School (and district) time and resources are an issue.
  4. If organizations can't engage with other social media users, they may be better off not using social media at all.
For my part, I added two principal points to the conversation. First, as a user of social media, I fully expect organizations to respond when I reach out to them for help or direction.
Second, whether we want to admit it or not, all educators are in the public relations business.
Education remains a highly political endeavor; if we can't figure out how to best meet the needs of our constituents, they'll likely find other ways to replace us. Sad, but true.
Having seen the tremendously positive role social media has played in establishing the identity of my school district, I can attest to the importance of its use by organizations desiring to have their voice be heard (rather than trusting that their voice will be appropriately filtered by others). At times, third party media outlets get it wrong; even those in new media. Nevertheless, as our district's communication team has interacted directly with patrons on social media, primary source facts have been distributed and public relations have improved.

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