Student Involvement Sparks Growth in Twitter Followers

At La Salle College High School, we’ve been seriously involved in Social Media since about 2010, with a growing buy-in from our community yearly.  But our students (an all-boys independent high school) were still leery of connecting with the official school accounts in fear of being “watched” by the administration.

 

As all of you likely are aware, students tend to be one step ahead of parents/teachers in terms of internet communications. Whereas the school focused on educating students on proper etiquette on Facebook a few years back, little did everyone know the students had already moved on to the next big thing – Twitter.

 

In May of last year, a few of us at school caught wind of a student-run Twitter account which solely focused on the Athletics Department of the school – scores, recaps, articles etc – and the account had a number of followers – primarily students.  After some research, our digital communications team realized the account was primarily very well-run, very informative, and started to get local media outlets as followers.

 

Instead of trying to shut-down the account – I met with the young men running it – and our team  decided to bring them into the fold and begin the process of turning the underground student-led Twitter account into an official school-sanctioned Twitter Feed with student contributors as well as me over seeing it.

 

The account – @LaSalle_Sports – has almost 1,600 followers in less than a year and is now frequently mentioned, re-tweeted and followed by media outlets, students, parents, alumni and sports fans around the country.  As our athletic program continues to shine in the state of Pennsylvania, this new Sports Twitter feed has helped sell La Salle’s Brand to people which we never would have reached and is a huge asset in our digital marketing of the school.

 

The students currently involved with the Twitter Account are all involved in our Sports Information Club and all want to work in sports media in college. What better way to prepare them for the changing landscape of journalism and media then by giving them real-world experience working with me in managing the Twitter Feed.

 

There was a fear of the unknown when this partnership began; however, it was nearly impossible for us to “shut-down” this type of feed – the students could just make another one the next day.  Making them a part of the process not only helped the school control the message, it allowed for an educational experience for these students.  I’m proud to say we have not had one issue with the feed and it’s been a constant source of information and school-pride this school year.

 

We’ve provided the students with certain parameters, and also let them know everything they post represents La Salle College High School.  To eliminate any possible issues, the students are not allowed to re-tweet other students or alumni – they can only re-tweet professional news organizations. They can only post links to articles and game information. No opinions or trash-talk.

 

I oversee the account (as well as the rest of our Social Media presence) and get alerts whenever a post goes live.  I also meet with the students daily to discuss the days or weeks events and which information we need to promote.  I control the password and the look and feel of the account to make sure it adheres to our branding.

 

By having a separate Twitter feed for sports, it has helped un-clutter our other Social Media Channels and allows those interested in athletics to get more in-depth information.  The official school twitter (@LSCHS) and Facebook accounts occasionally still do post about athletics, but having the separate channel makes things a lot more manageable on the other feeds.

 

Overall – it’s been a great success this year – and with these students connected to other students around campus constantly – they get updates and photos from games all week.  La Salle prides itself on experiential learning and this has been a great experience for everyone involved.  Getting the info from the students helps reduce my workload as well.  It’s been a win-win for everyone this year and we hope to continue with a new crop of students in the fall.

 

Give us a follow at www.twitter.com/LaSalle_Sports

Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson

Multimedia & Social Media Specialist at La Salle College High School

Rob is the Director of Multimedia Technology at La Salle College High School, an all-boys independent high school located outside of Philadelphia. Former Sports Journalism professional now specializing in educational technology, multimedia and social media communication. La Salle University alum and Philly native. Trying to stay ahead of the changing media landscape while raising three-year old twins.

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