I have been engaged with social media for over three and a half years now. As I often reflect on my journey, I can’t help but think about the early days and months after I first began to use Twitter and some other tools. There were many times during this early period that I questioned the value of the time I was putting in, or the actual impact any of this was having on teaching, learning, school culture, and leadership. Add in all of the weird looks and ignorant comments I received, it is a miracle that I made it through the early adoption stage to full, blown-out social media fanatic.
Image credit: http://www.netstrategies.com/blog/social-media/use-social-media-to-cross-promote
Obviously I stuck with it and my life as a principal has never been the same. Social media has become embedded in virtually all facets of my professional practice as an educational leader. It is so gratifying to see more educators locally, nationally, and globally begin to experience what social media has to offer on a professional level. However, as much as I and others tout the many ways in which social media can improve communications, form a foundation for positive public relations, increase student engagement, enhance the teaching and learning process, discover opportunity, and lead to authentic pathways to grow professionally, I still find that many educators are skeptical about embracing this dynamic, multi-dimensional tool.
At this point in my career, I cannot picture performing my duties as a Principal without social media playing some sort of role. I truly believe that it has made me a more effective school leader by enhancing a variety of skill sets essential to the position. The network of colleagues and friends I have developed has now become priceless. As we prepare to begin another school year, it is important that we reflect on the impact social media has had and all make a commitment to encouraging, supporting, and modeling its effective use amongst our staff, stakeholders, and other educators. I already know that this is tops on my agenda when we start up school again in September.
It is my hope that this post will serve as a catalyst for a greater discussion on how we can empower more educators to embrace social media, become connected, and utilize this tool to help do what they do more effective. In recent weeks and months I have seen a dramatic rise of educators in my home state of New Jersey who have embraced social media as a legitimate professional tool. I have also been proud to witness the evolution of the #NJED hash tag and #SatChat. On this Leadership Day 2012 I would like to remind all school leaders and educators that it is never too late to jump on the bandwagon.