Is Social Media the New Email? Tips for Telling Your Story with Pride

Bryan ZwemkeBlog, Engage Better, Innovate Better, Lead Better, Tech Better

In This Post

  • Don’t be scared of Social Media – it’s the future!
  • Develop a #hashtag for your classroom or school. If you are a teacher or principal, consider developing it with your staff or students.
  • Brand recognition and building your school’s online reputation is becoming a part of school community relations.
  • Be sure to follow your district’s protocol on posting about students and avoid any students with families that have not given permission.

If you were to walk into a classroom during a teacher prep period or into my office and see me or a teacher on Twitter, would one see that as being a good use of time or not? Would we even think of this question if you were to walk into the same situation and see someone on laptop answering emails? What if you saw the same situation and they were checking their email or engaged in social media on their phone?

Email Time vs. Social Media Time: Then and Now

I can remember being a new educator as a classroom teacher, in a staff meeting, hearing suggestions and tips on how to check my email. ¬†Email was relatively new for teachers in the early 2000’s and like voicemail, checking it was something that was not a habit like it is now.

Fast forward to today and I am recognizing I am spending nearly as much time communicating via email as I am on social media platforms growing a professional learning network and reading. Test this for yourself. Check your Screen Time App on your smart phone and compare your social media time to your email time.

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Email and social media do similar things but are different at the same time. In both ways, each platform allows you to communicate with a wide audience, but can also allow you to have 1:1 communication with direct messaging. Communication is the key to developing relationships with all stakeholders, including students, parents, and community members.

At the end of the day, how we work has changed, what work on had changed, and how we communicate and engage with stakeholders has changed. #TeachBetter Click To Tweet

I now am promoting the use of social media with my staff in a similar way as I learned about other ways to communicate, as well as how to learn and grow. Brand recognition and building your school’s online reputation is becoming a part of school community relations. With the powerful tool of social media, we can move beyond the static email or newsletter. At the end of the day, how we work has changed, what we work on has changed, and how we communicate and engage with stakeholders has changed.

Tips for Telling Your Story with Pride

  1. Develop a #hashtag for your classroom or school. If you are a teacher or principal, consider developing it with your staff or students.
  2. Make communication personal, meaningful, and is mission critical. Stay focused to a topic as your post and use a #hashtag such #criticialthinking, #SEL, #PBL, #studentvoice, #equity, #middleschool, #teachbetter, or others that align with your core values or core instructional strategies. 
  3. Post content across multiple platforms including stakeholders across multi-generations. This includes Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  4. Be sure to follow your district’s protocol on posting about students and avoid any students with families that have not given permission.
  5. Words are good, pictures are better, videos are the best. Vary your posts to include all types of posts so families can “see” more about what you are sharing.

About Bryan Zwemke

Bryan Zwemke is a middle school principal in Illinois. He is the Vice President of the Association of Illinois Middle Schools (AIMS) and the co-founder of the #aimsnetwork Twitter chat. Bryan is currently in a doctoral program for Education Leadership. As a veteran of middle level education, Bryan has developed a passion for the necessary change toward the #ModernMiddleSchool – a ecosystem dedicated to student growth, collaborative spaces and practices, and research supported techniques to long term success. You can connect with Bryan on Twitter @bryanzwemke or via email at bryandzwemke@gmail.com.