Today at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp I was asked for my opinion about using Facebook as the primary tool for posting information for the parents of your students. Answering that question reminded me of an article that I wrote a few years ago on the same topic. An updated version of that article appears below.
When used correctly social media can be a fantastic aid in spreading the good word about your school. As I wrote in my post about socializing school events with social media, social media can be very helpful in building a positive feeling of community around your school too. On the other hand, social media isn’t always the best way to share news about your school. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using social media for school announcements.
The social media networks you might use:
In an effort to be concise this post will deal only with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Unless otherwise specified the pros and cons here will deal with all four networks as category rather than breaking out the pros and cons of each network individually.
Pros of using social media for school announcements:
- The likelihood of students checking their favorite social networks frequently is much higher than that of them checking email frequently.
- You can quickly post concise messages with visuals that grab the attention of students and their parents. (I’ve been testing using large images into my Tweets lately. Each time I do I get more favorites and reTweets than I do with the same message that lacks a visual).
- It is easy for students and or parents to share the announcement through a reTweet, tag or share on Facebook, or a tag/mention on Instagram.
- It is easy for students and parents to reply to announcements.
- A small archive of recent announcements is automatically created for you.
Cons of using social media for school announcements:
- You must convince students and parents to follow or like your school’s social media account.
- Students and parents who follow a lot of social media accounts can easily overlook yours. This is especially true on Facebook because Facebook tends to hide posts from people/pages that haven’t been interacted with on a frequent basis. (In other words, if you click on a lot of “cuddly kitten/ puppy” stories on Facebook you’re more likely to see more of those than you are stories from sources that you don’t click frequently).
- You, your school administrator, or some committee within the school needs to decide who will be the “official” social media voice of the school. In other words, decide who gets to post on the school account.
- Someone has to monitor and moderate conversations that arise from announcements posted on social media. On a Facebook page or Instagram account you can delete inappropriate comments. On Twitter your only option is to block, mute, or report the offender.