If you can’t tell, I love Twitter. For me, it is the perfect online tool for immediate access and engagement with whatever audience is willing to listen. I have grown in my use of it from a news feed to, making snarky comments, to passing on class information, to engaging students, to participating in professional classroom discussions, and now to organizing and promoting the ongoing online education of high school football coaches. My evolution as a Twitter user has resulted in opportunities to converse with experts in the fields of science, education, and football. It has been an extremely rewarding experience.
As an educator I believe that we must teach our students the proper use of the tools they have to interact with the rest of the world. I remember in elementary school being taught the proper form of writing a letter. Writing a letter addressed to someone is the original form of social outreach. The writer is putting information in a document and then releasing it out for some unknown middle man to deliver it to the intended audience. The exact same sequence occurs when a person posts something online, the speed of delivery being the only difference. If my elementary school teacher thought it was an important enough lesson to teach all of us how to write a proper letter, I believe we should be teaching our students how to compose a proper Tweet and how to deliver your message in an appropriate manner via social networks.
In this day and age of social media, it is important to have an understanding of what information you are releasing out into the world for EVERYBODY to see. You want to be genuine, you want to be honest, but you also want to be careful. A wise person once said “There is a time and place for everything,” and that includes what is posted online. Using social media as a way of positively building up your personal brand takes time and practice. Educators and coaches who properly use social media in the classroom and in athletics can be models for students and athletes. We can produce positive material online, show other professionals who push out good messages, and help our students practice using their skills.
Even the best professionals needs help sometimes as well. There are laws and uses of social media that we need to know in order to properly educate our students and athletes. At #txhsfbchat the coaches who participate do an outstanding job of using Twitter as a learning and networking tool in a positive manner. We have also been fortunate to develop a relationship with the company HSSocialMedia. They work with athletes, coaches, schools, and youth sports organizations to help them develop a positive brand and to understand the laws associated with social media. We are even more fortunate to have them as a guest on the chat this week to talk about social media with us. As our students and athletes continue to increase their use of social media in their lives we need to understand the what, why, and how in order to understand, engage, and protect them.
I cannot wait to learn from HSSocialMedia in order to become a better user and educator for my students and audience. I hope you will join in this extremely important discussion. Social Media is here to stay and is how the people we serve communicate. I’ll see you Wednesday so that you can be a large part of this ongoing conversation.