A lot of folks are wondering how to create social media guidelines for their schools. Heck, even corporations are still wondering how to do this, so it’s nice to know we’re in this together. Here’s one way to use social media to get answers about social media.

 

Last year at Windward, senior admins came to the Comm. Dept about how faculty should be interacting with students via Facebook, etc. “Guys, we need you to create some guidelines. By next week.” No problem, we assured them.

 

After we stopped hyperventilating, we recalled one of the sweet new laws of knowledge in the digital age: these days, you don’t have to know all of the answers, you just need to know how to find the people who know the answers. So we got on three of our Twitter feeds (mine @burma999, Communication Coordinator Justin Malvin @justinmalvin, and the School’s main feed @WindwardSchool) and simply asked: “Anyone out there have social media policies or guidelines they can share?”

 

Over the next few hours, we were bombarded with links, examples, and words of wisdom. A day later, I had melted down bits of the best policies and reshaped them for our School’s needs, and we presented our Windward School Social Media Guidelines to faculty and to grateful senior admins. It was a perfect example of the wisdom of crowds. (P.S. Our school considered “guidelines” as general principles to help faculty understand boundaries of acceptable behavior. Creating a “policy” is more legal and requires longer-term research and input from admins, teachers, etc.)

 

One last thing to do: we Tweeted our new guidelines back to the community with a big thank you to all.

It’s a social media cycle of life: At one moment are an infant that needs sustenance, and an hour later you are the adult parent helping a new toddler to walk. Next hour, you will be the infant again. (Hey, when is retirement? And where’s my remote?)

 

Steps

  1. Do a little research and follow smart people on Twitter. If you’re a newbie, begin with a couple of the amazing minds from the EdSocialMedia masthead, and then follow their friends.
  2. Ask the community your question, gather info, and create your guidelines.
  3. Once you’re done, give back to the community for people to retweet so that others may benefit. Cycle of Life, man.
Stephen Johnson

Stephen Johnson

Communication Strategist and Consultant

Stephen Johnson has been involved in education as a teacher, writer, and communications professional for over twenty years. He is currently a communication strategist and consultant for schools, small businesses, and non-profits; and since 2009 he has worked with some of his favorite people ever at edSocialMedia, where he currently runs boot camps and consults.