A few weeks ago, Peter Baron, Steve Ritchie and I traveled down to Seguin, Texas outside of San Antonio to spend the day with a fantastic group of social media innovators from several area universities. The edSocialMedia Bootcamp held at Texas Lutheran University was a one day event where we had a chance to provide context for the use of social media in educational settings as well as run participants through an afternoon of hands on content creation. What was evident to me from the start was that this group of 35 or so professionals from a host of colleges and universities and one or two secondary schools were so jazzed up about thinking about how they could use social media to further the mission and strategic vision of their perspective schools.
In taking the last few weeks to close out the end of my own school year; between graduation, senior awards, end of year meetings and an Executive Leadership Team retreat, I have finally taken the time to reflect on our work together as a group and what the take aways were for me as a result of having my own thinking and learning shaped by this great group of people.
- Start with something that works – Don’t look for a new project or idea specifically designed to make use of social media. Rather look at ways in which your school already has wonderful stories to communicate, or groups you are looking to connect with one another and focus on how social media can enhance what is already working your school.
- Social Media is not an individual sport – Working in teams, collaborating, connecting and sharing are at the core of what social media helps us do with one another virtually. We should look towards creating teams in-house that can facilitate and delegate work across the group rather than place the expectation squarely on the shoulders of one or two individuals.
- Be willing to let go a little – The beauty of social media, in my opinion is that you may not always be on message, but your message will always feel authentic and real. Trying to control everything, making sure that everything is consistent is important in many aspects of a school’s marketing and communication strategy, but bringing diverse voices from your community in as part of the tapestry that is your message adds color and flavor.
This was my first trip to Texas and the food, the people and the conversations were fantastic. I have been fortunate to travel quite a bit this year and I must admit that this group was spectacular to work with on every level. If you want to see some of what they produced as well as work from some of our other bootcamps, visit our labs site where you can see first hand what we accomplished together in just a few short hours on a sunny afternoon.