I love Twitter.
It’s where I find nearly everything of interest to me online not requiring the immediacy of a Google search.
It comes to me out of the ether, no request needed.
At the heart of the discussion was the question, “should schools have multiple twitter accounts?”
From my perspective, I think the answer is yes for four reasons in no particular order.
1) It’s Public Relations – The golden rule is to get your story heard. If I had to choose between one person singing the gospel about my school or multiple people in multiple niches within my school, I’d choose the latter every time, especially when these are the very people who are doing the great work I’m trying to expose. Factor in the network for each twitter handle, and you have the potential for considerable exposure of content produced by those who live your brand.
2) It’s Content Creation – My long term vision for communications at my school is building a faculty, staff, and student army of content creators, whose stories I can link to and/or share via different channels, whether that’s a tweet, a traditional media pitch (i.e. a phone call with a journalist), a post on our institution’s facebook page, a blog post, or a feed or link on our website. Or, all of the above.
I think of NPR strategist Andy Carvin scanning twitter, using the platform to cull sources and eyewitness during the Arab Spring in an attempt to report and give context on what was happening. The more teachers who are creating their own content or are sharing the content created by their students, the more story ideas or already-generated stories I have to share. I want to be Gould Academy’s Andy Carvin. I’m not there yet, but I think it is a worthy goal.
3) It’s Professional Development & Modeling – Social Media is here to stay. Period. Humans are a gregarious breed and twitter is just one of many social media tools in our collective wheelhouse. As centers of learning and institutions that prepare young people for the world, we have a responsibility to understand, use, and teach the tools that are impacting our world.
And these tools are impacting our world and our students significantly.
The more our faculty and staff members become comfortable with these tools, the better they can understand how to integrate them into their class work, showing students how to use them in positively powerful, responsible, and meaningful ways.
4) It’s Reinforcing Your School’s Brand – As authentic, or transparent, (or any buzzword with a similar meaning) as I can be telling a story that brands my school, I’m still doing it as the as the school’s communications director. I’m not the coach, the teacher, or the student. A variety of twitter handles are the primary sources of a school’s brand via the medium, because our people are our brand. Giving them the tools and the freedom to voice what they are proud of doing every day is no different than coordinating the interview between a teacher and the journalist writing the story. We’ve just taken the journalist out of the equation.
As the communications director I won’t stop telling my school’s story, however I’ll gladly accept the help…and promote it.
But enough from me. What do you think?