Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Quality Twitter Conversations for Schools

Recently I had a conversation with my assistant principal, and he recounted how kids were scoffing about the official school Twitter feed not having many followers. "But I can connect with anyone using hashtags like #edchat," he replied to a particular student with 900-some followers.

My AP recognized something valuable regarding Twitter for schools: It's about quality, not quantity. Twitter is a great PR platform and communication channel: Schools probably want influential parents and community thought leaders following them, and Twitter is a great chance to interact with the media.

On the topic of Twitter as a PR tool, it's become cool online to be snarky - so many online posts and comments (and now even media headlines) are like zingers from sitcoms.

The White House talks in this trendy fashion on social media. The caption to this Twitter picture reads, "That time Bo tried to make fetch happen."

I can tell you my high school students would find that tone and style overused and tiresome, and creepy when adults attempt to speak that way. Most of us probably agree social media is a chance to make humorous observations, poke fun, be witty, etc. But schools (and the White house) should constantly consider tone and audience.

Schools should also consider who has the time, personality and tech skill to do the tweeting, and maybe it's a small group. Tweeting is a commitment, and an ignored account sends a negative message. Enough mediocre advice from me - get out there and start tweeting, so you can look back fondly at "that time your school made tweeting happen!"

John Ritter, one of my all-time favorites