Every now and again, something comes along and serves as a reminder for all using social media.
There are people watching and they care.
Take a few seconds to read this story.
On first blush, you might think that this is a bit of overkill. But I think that there’s a great deal that can be read into that.
Many school districts coordinate accounts on social media. A good question to be asked if you’re applying or actually in such a position is “What is the goal for this account?” and “Why are we doing this?”
Anyone who has that job has to realize that they’re speaking for an entire system. There are certain latitudes that come from a personal account but I would suggest that it’s entirely different when you’re speaking for that system.
Contributions to social media need to be informational and professional at all times. Inside jokes or put downs need to be kept to personal accounts and not through a bigger system account. A rule of thumb is to remember is that you’re speaking for thousands and not just yourself.
But that’s not the only thing.
Parents may well be connected to the classroom through a classroom account or a teacher account. That’s where they should be going if they’re looking at what’s happening today there. A system account that just retweets every teacher account as they pop up quickly becomes a spammer and ignored. It’s nice to promote happenings and I would propose a once a day Storify post titled “What happened yesterday” would make be appropriate. You could even accumulate them into a blog so that they don’t get lost. It’s a way to show the best of a system and not to make fun of any individual.
Back to the issue addressed in the story – teachers know that it’s wrong to make fun of learners as they learn. There’s no way that a system account should engage and do the same thing that teachers try to avoid. It has the potential to go far beyond the classroom walls, which is bad enough, but once it’s out there, who knows where it will end?
I do feel sorry for the probationary social media person. You can’t help but think that the district needs to take part of the blame for not specifying what’s appropriate for that account. There should be clear and definite instructions about how to use the account to address the district’s goals for having that account in the first place.
In the meantime, it’s a reminder for all of us about the power of social media and its reach.
How about your organization? Is its approach to social media professional and something a district can be proud of? If not, what could be done to make it better.