Sunday, June 24, 2012

3 Easy Things to Do with Your School or District's Facebook Page

The negative press about educators' indescretions in Facebook posting is enough to send the 21st century school leader running in the opposite direction when someone talks about engaging in the use that media for school communication. But such thinking ignores the fact that other media has been, and will be abused in the same way. When a school staff members uses the phone line to engage in illicit activity, we don't take our the phone lines. We deal with the real issue, that staff member's behavior, not the technology.

But once a school leader gets beyond the fear, there are three good reasons to use Facebook to communicate with the larger community and the world. Here they are:
  • Use Facebook to inform and Educate: This is probably the way it is most used by school leaders. Facebook is the perfect medium to announce what is happening in your school or district. You can post about new school or district initiatives. Post those big news items such as visiting dignitaries, budget information, and even new educational programs. Facebook is a source of news for an increasingly large number of our constituients, so we need to use it in that manner.
  • Use Facebook to engage stakeholders: Facebook is an opportunity though, to move beyond just making announcements, and engage your stakeholders in conversations about your school or district. Once you've established clear guidelines for comments and posts, you can engage your parents in discussions about the proposed school dress code, or the new bell schedule. There's no reason to be afraid of those conversations. They are going to happen anyway. Bringing them to Facebook just brings those conversations under your radar so that you can know your community's true feelings about what you're doing. This is taking Facebook use to another whole level that many districts and district leaders aren't ready to move to, mine included.
  • Use Facebook to entertain stakeholders and to celebrate: Facebook is a perfect opportunity to entertain your stakeholders with the many talents your students have. Posting a video of the band performing, or a interesting video created by a student are the kinds of things our parents find entertaining. It is also a way to celebrate the great things your school or district is doing.
It truly is tempting to either ignore the movement by organizations to social media due to all the negative press it receives. But to do so limits your school or district from taking advantage of one of the most effective 21st century communication tools.

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