For the past few days I have had the opportunity to work with a group of school administrators beginning to work with social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as tools that can be used to help tell the stories that make up the community of their school. We are working just outside Sisters, Oregon which has to be one of my favorite places on earth. The small town, plus the proximity to the natural beauty of the Central Oregon geography, make for a great place to gather, and consider the work that building principals do.
I, along with my fellow administrators at the conference, have been discussing the use of social media, and how school administrators can use these tools to tell the story of their buildings. We were very fortunate to have Joe Sanfelippo and Curt Rees join us via video conferencing and discuss how they use these tools in their work.
We demonstrated how to utilize Instagram, and how it can be used to document events and activities throughout the school day. This lead to a discussion about how much of ourselves do we share with our community.
My Instagram feed captures moments from my work day, as well as family events, and moments that I find of interest. In this sense I am sharing much more that just my interactions at school, but also more about me as a person. Family events get mixed up in my feed, as well as recent school events. I understand that some of my colleagues do not want this, but I am fine with this. I believe it provides my school community with another connection to me and also allows me to connect and learn about them.
When I share a milestone in the life of one of my children, or the recent adventures of my granddaughter, I believe I am also showing those that follow me what is important to me, and also am sharing a bit about what makes up my world away from school.
As several of my good friends have pointed out recently (see below), we principals are not just the person roaming the halls, visiting classrooms, and facilitating meetings, we are also people who have real lives. I have chosen to share some of my life with my community, and in return I have been able to learn much from my parents and students.
This is a brave new world for many of us, but also one that provides numerous opportunities for building leaders to share the good work taking place in their buildings, and also provide our communities with a picture of the person that leads their school. There is a tension here that I am finding interesting and look forward to exploring further.