networking sites such as Facebook can be used as part
of a larger communication strategy,
including school web sites, telephone calling systems, and
newsletters. In this whitepaper, we'll look at how Facebook can be
used by schools.
networking sites have an advantage of allowing conversations and user
feedback on specific issues. Facebook also reaches an audience that
many other mediums don't reach, specifically the students and,
increasingly, parents. A school or district should decide on who the
intended audience will be for it's Facebook page. There is no right
or wrong answer, but this decision will determine other policies,
such as who can see the page, post to it, and provide responses to
of an Overall Communications Plan
shouldn't be used in place of or separately from other communication
channels, but rather to support
these other channels.
For example, an announcement should be included in or posted to
phone systems, the school web site, and Facebook.
importantly, a clear
and efficient process for developing and posting communications
should be in place. The communication should be written once, with
the same information posted to multiple sources at the same time. A
standardized form could be created for all communication, with the
message crafted at the top, and instructions / checklist for
disseminating it below. By using a standardized form, delivered to
all channels, the message
across all channels.
channels can also support
and build upon other channels.
For example, an announcement about an event could be posted on all
channels, but the daily school announcement might tell students to
visit the Facebook page for more detailed information, while the
Connect-Ed announcement might suggest visiting the school web site or
Facebook page for more information. More detailed information that
isn't appropriate for one channel or can't be communicated by a
particular channel can be included in other channels. By mentioning
or cross-referencing channels, you make people more aware of the
and Acceptable Responses
channels also allow different
levels of feedback.
Facebook has a variety of controls that permit the School to allow
or restrict fans to post comments, photos, and videos to the School's
Facebook page. For example, fans could be allowed to comment on
announcements or respond to discussions. This allows the school or
district to gain valuable feedback on various issues. Other controls
would allow the school to post announcements without feedback.
Facebook is used as a channel, an appropriate
usage policy needs
to be developed for it, consistent with other usage policies, but
geared towards Facebook's unique capabilities. For example, will
fans be allowed to post comments or content to the School's wall?
Will they be restricted to commenting only on posts made by the
school? Will they be restricted from posting any comments? These
decisions will determine if the Facebook channel is merely another
web site for disseminating information or if it is used for
discussions of issues important to students and parents.
Does This All Come Together?
the example of a new dress code announcement. This
announcement was put on the school web site, sent home via a mailing,
and announced via an automated phone call. The automated phone message
referenced the mailing, indicating that more details were available
in the mailing. It could also be posted on a Facebook page where
students or fans could comment or discuss the new policy.
another example, school board meetings are posted on the district's
calendar, but could also be posted as an announcement on the Facebook
page. These could include links to the meeting agenda and the last
meeting's minutes. If there is an issue the board would like
feedback on, a separate discussion could be started on Facebook.
could be posted on Facebook and fans could upload pictures or videos
of the event. For example, an announcement about Homecoming
activities could be posted on the Facebook page and students or fans
could be invited to post pictures from Homecoming under that
has a variety of ways to post events, including links to news
articles, invitations to events, notes (detailed memos or documents),
discussions, photos, and videos.
Inappropriate Postings, Responses, Feedback
school retains all control of content posted on the Facebook page and
could delete inappropriate comments, pictures, or videos. Someone at
the school or district will have to monitor the Facebook page for
inappropriate postings and comments. Fortunately, Facebook has
notification features in place that notify you whenever there is
activity on your page, allowing a school to quickly review content.
more information, contact: