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Why Your School Should get on Facebook

Why Your School Should get on Facebook

How many people do you follow on Twitter?  How about Facebook?  How many times do you check for your friends’ updates or browse the blog world to keep track of the latest news?  Did you ever think that you’d find your child’s school, or your alma mater requesting your “friendship?” Don’t be surprised if these schools start to show up on your news feed.

Ann Bibby’s post highlighted that some schools are starting to integrate social media like Myspace and Facebook into their curriculum.  Although budget constraints make it difficult for schools to keep up with the latest technology, using these tools in the classroom will show students that web surfing can be more than a form of entertainment.  These tools can be beneficial outside of the classroom as well. 

Although most schools have their own websites, officials often find they receive little traffic.  Instead of trying to get students, parents, alumni and supporters to come to them, many schools are going to the site their populations frequent: Facebook.

Katie Machir, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich CT said that the school’s Facebook page is a proactive marketing tool for them. “It gives us an avenue to reach out to current families and prospective families and let them know about all the ‘happenings’ at our school.”  She said that their Facebook page, which has 366 followers, helps draw people to the school’s website.  “Most people do not check the CSH website everyday, but they do check their Facebook page everyday.”

A Washington Post article highlighted The Landon School’s use of Facebook.  The Bethesda private school’s page has over 500 followers. “We’re slowly trying to incorporate these social networking platforms,” said spokeswoman Jean Erstling. “It’s very important for us to be able to reach out to young alumni, and since they weren’t coming to our site, we needed to go to them.”

Using these new media creates two-way communication.  In the past parents received letters home, donors received newsletters and alumni may have been left in the dark.  However, in today’s information age, schools are able to keep everyone in the loop and followers can give feedback to their respective schools. 

Using Twitter, Facebook and blogs opens a window to the schools that most people don’t get to see regularly.  Followers can read news, see pictures and even watch videos.  These avenues help to remove the disconnect that parents, alumni and supporters may feel because they’re not in the physical building each day.  Further, followers are invited to the conversation, and they can participate at their own convenience.

As the Development Director at St. Joseph School, an inner-city school in the Bronx, I know first hand the value of forming solid connections with community members.  Like most private schools, St. Joseph relies on both tuition and outside support to survive.

In these economic times, it is more important than ever for students’ parents, alumni and donors to feel a solid, constant connection with the school.  It is crucial that they understand what is happening on the ground.  Further, these media help them to make their voices heard, as they should be.  

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19 comments

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5:56PM PST on Jan 7, 2010

i may get people more involved in what is going on in the schools if it is put on something like face book... because about as many people belong to them as they do to care 2

1:58AM PST on Jan 1, 2010

Thanks!

5:26PM PST on Dec 21, 2009

I just joined Facebook this past weekend and I am fascinated with the social networking that happens. It is such a pop-culture experience. I think schools would benefit from this type of interaction as long as they have someone that has the time to attend to the site.

This would most likely generate more traffic to their official website where the important information is located.

11:10AM PST on Dec 19, 2009

Thanks for the post.

12:33AM PST on Dec 18, 2009

i hate facebook.

8:03PM PST on Dec 17, 2009

This is interesting, but I feel like in another year or two facebook will be a thing of the past and schools will need to yet again change advertising mediums.

12:02PM PST on Dec 17, 2009

hmmmmm interesting.

9:29AM PST on Dec 16, 2009

That's certainly an interesting idea.

5:45AM PST on Dec 16, 2009

You're right, social networks would connect schools and pupils but what about people who don't have an account or even no internet access? They won't be up to date and left behind...
My school has a webpage I visit daily for changes in class-schedules. Sometimes there are news what other classed did, but not very often. If you don't have access to this page daily, you don't miss anything.

7:53PM PST on Dec 15, 2009

even though i`m not too keen on facebook,myspace asf. i find the idea interesting.it helps parents to be more involved in the happenings of their kids lives.it hopefully also helps to save trees .

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
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