If you're looking for a social media tool to get started with in your role as a 21st century administrator, start with Twitter. It is one of the easiest to set up and use, and also the one you will experience the most immediate results. In no time at all, you will find yourself connected with educators world-wide. If you are at a loss for some ways to use this technology, here's some suggestions based on my own experience.
- Twitter as a listening tool: I have access to two Twitter accounts. One is my school Twitter account, and the other is my personal-professional account. Both serve as listening devices. The school account is an opportunity to both celebrate and announce school events and happenings, and an opportunity to listen in to what you stakeholders are saying about you. It also gives them an opportunity to connect and provide feedback. My personal-professional account gives me ears to the ground; it allows me to listen to the latest conversations about what is going on in the world of education. I can stay informed.
- Twitter as a conversation-facilitator: Twitter can be the device you use to spark conversation. It can be the catalyst that gets the talk started about what is important in your school, or about what you see as a pressing issue. It can be the tool you use to see what others in your personal learning network think about your latest initiatives. You can get world-wide advice on the topics that matter to you.
- Twitter as a stakeholder-connector: Twitter can the tool you use to build trust with your school community. You can use it to engage your stakeholders in what is happening in your school, and give them a tool in which to respond, but respond with brevity. It is another way to connect with those who have the greatest concerns about what happens in your school.
- Twitter as a personal learning network connector: This expands Twitter beyond just being a way to make announcements. It means you have a tool to connect you with other education leaders world-wide who have a great deal of knowledge and expertise to share with you. Twitter has the potential to provide you as a school leader with the collective wisdom of thousands of school administrators.
Twitter is the easiest tool for the administrator who is just beginning to wade into social media. As authors Kitty Porterfield and Meg Carnes state in their book Why Social Media Matters: School Communication in the Digital Age, "At its core, Twitter provides a way to listen to your community, be responsive, provide interesting content for people to share, and send your school's or district's message to a wider audience." More than that, Twitter expands your world beyond your school building. Twitter is truly the easiest, starting point for administrators, and educators to get connected.