Monday, April 7, 2014

School as collected anthology - the single story is that of many

I've written a lot about how we use social media, Twitter in particular at my school, PS 10 in Brooklyn, NY. We tweet a lot. We love hashtags. We are trying to engage the community and showcase all the awesome things our students, teachers, and parents do to make PS 10 such a great place.

But is it really "we, the school" that is doing it, or are "we, the school" just collecting the stories of others. Creating an anthology?

There has also been a lot of great things written about branding your school, controlling your message, and being the go-to source for school information through tools like Twitter and Facebook.
(related aside, if you don't already follow Eric Sheninger, Brad Currie, or Tony Sinanis you're missing out on great social media in education content)

But it dawned on me the other day that maybe it isn't using a school social media account (@PS10Brooklyn for instance) to craft a message and create a brand. Maybe it's using that account to collect the great stories from all the classroom within, that all those different stories are together, the message of the school.

I maintain the @PS10Brooklyn account and in looking back on it recently I've realized I've done, unwittingly, what I think I always set out to do, without ever realizing exactly what I was doing.

We started out as many do, tweeting something fairly innocuous in order to get the tweets going:

But now as I look at the feed, it's filled with re-tweets and quoted re-tweets of all the teachers, parents, and community members who tweet about the awesome things happening in the building.

I guess what I'm driving at is a community social media presence is all well and good. But is it a real benefit, does it hold real value, if it's just a broadcast medium for announcements and events? Or does the real power and potential of a school's social media presence lie in it's ability to collect all the greatness from the community into a single curated anthology?

For me, it's the latter.

And for it to work, we need to Tweet, and Instagram, and Google+ and whatever other social media platform you see fit. Teachers, students, parents, community members, we need to let them show the awesome from their point of view so we can collect it and broadcast the true message. That our school community is great and it's not us telling you that, it's all it's members showing it...

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