The Big Idea

The idea for this page is to build a 'best of the web' reading / watching list for school leadership regarding using social media for school advancement. Rather than talk about how great social media is we're using social media to build this reading list.

Want More?

This article (and this wiki) is curated by Hans Mundahl. If you'd like to have me speak to your school or organization I'd love to hear from you!

Ground Rules

This page has seen a significant bump in traffic since it was featured on Scott McLeod's remarkable blog so I thought I might take a moment to clarify a few things:
  • All visitors to this page feel free to edit it, add to it, change it, build on it and use it however you would like
  • With a few very minor exceptions. (note: links to other sites and content embedded on this page may be all rights reserved).
  • Same goes for anything else on this wiki that you like (or that you don't)
  • We assume that school leaders have limited time so each article should be presented in a short excerpt format which highlights the most important message along with a link to the full article

Interested in how this reading list came to be? This short video explains what happened:

Articles will fall into one of these topic areas:
  • What is this stuff: Simple explanations for common social media tools
  • Making the Case: Does social media really matter?
  • iPhone: Making the case for bringing your message to hand held devices, in particular the iPhone.
  • Joys & Concerns: Case studies of successful and unsuccessful social media engagement.
  • Good Models: Effective blogging, tweeting, FB'ing school administrators.
  • Next Steps: What steps should schools be taking next?

What is this stuff

Simple explanations for common social media tools

Making the Case

Does social media really matter?
Why Teachers Should Try Twitter

"The ABCs of Mobile Marketing: Words to know in exploring this new frontier in higher education marketing." Read full article here.

"While media coverage and policy attention focus heavily on how children and young adults use social network sites, adults still make up the bulk of the users of these websites." Read more social media data from the Pew Research Center.

"A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter - and getting smarter faster than most companies." ~ The Cluetrain Manefesto (1999)

Clay Shirky is a forward thinker in social media. Check out this short video (17 minutes) in which he talks about the potential (and concerns) about these new tools.

"I am asked almost weekly how to convince nonbelievers in an organization give social networking efforts a try. So I thought I’d answer that question here and as an upcoming guest post on Beth Kanter’s blog, since she’s likely given you many good ideas of how to use social media – and you’ve likely run into internal roadblocks on the road to Web 2.0." By Katya Andresen, publisher of Getting to the Point. Read the full article here

"It doesn't matter what you call it, an inquiry is a lead." This marketing focused article makes the case for the value of social media in lead generation including some hard dollar ROI numbers. Full article by Kyle James of .eduGuru here. Or check out Kyle's slides from a recent presentation the WhippleHill User Conference.

"A month-long poll conducted on business social network LinkedIn has uncovered some fascinating numbers concerning social media platforms and brand presence. The biggest surprise was that Twitter was deemed more important to brands than LinkedIn, and the poll was performed on LinkedIn." Complete article here.

A new study "claims a correlation between social media engagement and revenue growth." True? Or is it just the strongest brands who are engaging? Read full article here.


Making the case for bringing your message to hand held devices, particularly the iPhone
"Of course, as a Michigan State alum, I feel a little weird about carrying a Duke app on my iPhone--especially one that's so otherwise Duke-centric. But, like all MSU grads, I'm mature enough to handle it." MSU alum feels compelled to use the Duke app. Why? Read full article here. (ps this app is run by MobilEdu the company that also makes the WhippleHill app).

"The strategy appears to be to use the iPhone app to acquire new customers rather than just as a CRM effort, which is what you would expect. It makes perfect sense to promote the app to your existing customers and allow them to interact directly during an accident, but there's also a logic in promoting this wider than your existing base to position your brand as convenient and reliable in order to attract interest from other potential customers." Full article here.

"iPhone users are young, rich and tech savy." This slide deck talks about why to engage with this tool and illustrates some success stories in the for-profit world.

"MobilEdu allows education institutions to deliver a rich set of campus life services and content to mobile devices, uniquely branded for each institution, to better connect current students, parents, faculty, prospective students and alumni to the campus experience in a way that wasn't possible before." From a press release announcing MobileEdu (the company that makes the WhippleHill iPhone application) to be acquired by Blackboard for $4 million. Full article here.

"Princeton University puts reunions on the iPhone." Full article here.

"However, the most revolutionary thing about the app may be the fact that it exists at all." Read full article here about Pizza Hut's journey to the iPhone.

Joys & Concerns

Case studies of successful and unsuccessful social media engagement
Upper Canada College efforts with social media earned them the 2008 Prix D'Excellence from the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education. Read how the Communications Manager used Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter to effectively engage alumni. Full article here.

Student Produced Live TV ... does it belong on our school web site?
I'm currently wondering if our student produced live streaming show belongs on our school's web site. Will a prospective parent (or someone in our leadership team) see a student flub his lines, or wearing a hat and think, "that doesn't represent our institution very well?" - hmundahl hmundahl Apr 21, 2010

Good Models

Effective blogging, tweeting, FB'ing school administrators

Heads addressing broad and meaningful issues by blog:
Josie Holford, Head of School, Poughkeepsie Day School (NY): The Compass Point
Dane Peters, Head of School, Brooklyn Heights Montessori School (NY): Dane's Education Blog
Michael Ebeling, Head of School, Summit School (NC): Peak Experiences
Palmer Bell, Headmaster. Riverside Presbyterian Day School (FL): The Headliner
George Couros, Principal, Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada: The Principal of Change
Dave Bircher, Principal. Montmartre School, Saskatchewan Canada Bircher's Banter
Jim Power, Principal, Upper Canada College, Ontario, Canada. The Power Point

On Twitter:
@ewilliams65 -- public school Superintendent (VA)
@principalspage -- Public school superintendent (IL)
@granadosmaggie -- Independent school division head (PA)
@neilhopkin -- Head of School (United Kingdom)
@nlakusta - Educational Technology Facilitator, PSD #70, Alberta
@franbisselle -- Head of School (VT)
@jonathanemartin -- Head of School (AZ)
@albmemphis -- Head of School (TN)
@Akee123- Head of School (MA)
@gcouros - Principal (Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada)
@pughamy - IT Director, Pewaukee (WI)
@bircherd - Principal K-12 School (Montmartre, Saskatchewan Canada)

Active profile pages on FB:
Manzano Day School (NM)
Eaglebrook School (MA)
The Fessenden School (MA)
Fay School (MA)
Presbyterian Day School (TN)
Intermediate District 287 (MN)
New Hampton School (NH)

Delicious links for more information: -- dozens of links to more information on social media and marketing for schools and colleges

Next Steps

What steps should schools be taking next?
"Recently my office had all of the emails we have on record matched with a social media database to find our where our folks are hanging out online. Our thinking was that if we were going to start wading into the social media space to at the least know the key networks." From Development & Social Media Taking The First Step by Jay Goulart

"In the current economy, job security has become somewhat of an oxymoron. Which is one reason why maintaining connections with your old university classmates, especially when you find yourself looking for a new job, can be crucial. Now universities across the country are beginning to use social media tools to engage alumni and build a network of graduates with a shared affinity for the institution." Read the full article here.

"Every day, millions of people use Twitter to create, discover and share ideas with others. Now, people are turning to Twitter as an effective way to reach out to businesses, too. From local stores to big brands, and from brick-and-mortar to internet-based or service sector, people are finding great value in the connections they make with businesses on Twitter." Read the full article here for tips on getting started with Twitter for institutional uses.

Gould Academy has embraced social media in a big way with feeds and links to various social media sites directly on the home page. Check it out here

Edblogger and 6th grade teacher, Bill Ferriter (aka The Tempered Radical) on "Why Teachers Should Try Witter." Tips for getting started, and why Twitter's a great tool for educators who want to differentiate their own learning.


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