Communicating with Social Media

This morning, I listened to this George Couros interview on Connected Principals:

George Couros: Connected Principals Should Be ‘Learner Leaders’ from DML Research Hub on Vimeo.

In his interview, he touches on the acceptance issues of schools embracing teachnology, specificically social media, in the learning process.  As I feel developing the quitesiential “Community of Learners” also involes clearly and effectively communicating with parents and stakeholders (can you tell I’ve just finished job interview season?), I think getting families on board with the social media/school partnership is essential.

Here are a few lines from Mr. Couros I liked:

On filtering

“A lot of stuff that we don’t do is because of fear [of the Internet]”

“What [filtering does] is actually encourages kids  to use their own device for unfiltered access.”

“When schools block stuff, they also don’t talk about it, and what they’re doing is setting their kids up to do unsafe things either during school hours or after school hours because they don’t know any better because no one is talking about it because they don’t have to.”

On District Digital Identities:

“When I actually looked at what would be a logical hashtag [for the district]…we found that parents and community members were actually creating a digital footprint..a d igital identity for that school district, that was very negative.  So I looked it up, and I saw people that weren’t educators, weren’t able to tell the story of what is actually happening in schools, telling the story of that district…creating a digital identity for that district that is very negative.  We are on the other end of that spectrum where we don’t want that happening.  We encourage debate.  We encourage people being critical of the things we’re doing because we don’t learn anything when everyone agrees with us.  We want them to be engaged in conversation, but we want to be at the table, actively involved in the conversations, instead of outside the restaurant.”

So…

As I’m taking on a new administrative role, where do I go with social media?  Our district has and maintains an information-based website and Twitter account.  The district and middle school also have their own Facebook pages.  We have a lot of great things going on (and hopefully even more, soon!) in the district and elementary building that I’d love to share with our community!

I’ve seen the value of effective social media use in schools.  One great example was when Tecumseh Junior High School Principal Brett Gruetzmacher (@BGruetzmacher) used his building’s Facebook page to keep parents posted about late dismissal of students due to severe weather in the area.  We’re nuts for not having systems like that in place.

Surely, however, there are some downsides and things to be aware of.

What are some lessons learned from other administrators/districts/buildings about using Facebook/Twitter accounts to share information?  What do I need a heads up about?  What conversations need to be held regarding privacy, policy, etc.?

Thanks!

Shorten Your Facebook Fan Page URL

Last June, Facebook allowed users to shorten the URL that directs friends to their individual site.  Instead of friends or potential friends having to search for a particular user using Facebook’s search feature, they could instead be directed to go directly to a friend’s page at facebook.com/usersusername.  Essentially, it is supposed to be a time and space-saver.

With more users creating “fan” pages for everything from small businesses to community clubs to classrooms, Facebook allows the same URL shortening service if your page has 25 fans or more. The process is simple.

1.  While logged into the account associated with your fan page, visit facebook.com/username.

2.  Select your fan page from the “Page Name” drop down menu.

Facebook | Username

3.  Create a unique username and check availability.

Now you’re set to send your users to the shortened URL!  This is much easier for publications and publicity, although Facebook offers several options for electronically promoting your pages.

Feel free to visit (and “like” or “fan” or whatever we’re calling it this week) my classroom’s page at www.facebook.com/mrmalany.

Also look for more information from Ryan Collins’s blog on why/how teachers should create Facebook pages.