Wednesday, March 16, 2016

One more reason to create a school hashtag

I’m a huge fan of underdogs. To be an underdog means that you go into the battle and you are expected to lose. I’m also a fighter, willing to fight the good fight unceasingly. I will never give up the battle of fighting for public education, educators, and the students we serve. 

We all know that public education is an easy target for the brokenness in society. World-wide, we can fight the negative perceptions and images by increasing the number of positive messages about what teachers and students are doing each and every day in schools.

With the power of social media, a school can help to turn the tide of negativity with the use of a school hashtag. A hashtag is a keyword or phrase, preceded by the “number sign” or “hash mark” (#), that allows the message to be searched or followed. Three big social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all allow the use of hashtags to identify specific messages. 

If school stakeholders simply tweet positive messages about their school into the twittersphere, the messages can get diluted. The hashtag can aggregate the messages into a critical mass, building a positive brand and image for the school. Every school should create a hashtag and use it on social media platforms.  

I love getting to tell our school’s story on twitter. There are so many terrific things that take place inside a school, and it’s up to us as educators to share those events. I always say, The magic is not in the over-the-top, "newsworthy" activities... it's in the consistent, small moments that happen at school based on consistent, positive relationships and high expectations. But... recently, we had a newsworthy event at our school. One that deserved the news attention that it got.

Our school was able to grant a little boy a special wish. Our Student Government Association coordinated fund-raising at our school, and we raised $15,000 for Make-A-Wish to grant a trip to Disney to an awesome kid named AJ.

We also learned that Disney would donate $5 to Make-A-Wish for messages on social media that contained the hashtag #ShareYourEars.

Our students and staff were challenged to post pictures and tag them with #ShareYourEars and our school hashtag #HooverPride on the day of and the day before we had our school-wide assembly for AJ.
It was awesome to be able to help raise money for Make-A-Wish through the generosity of Disney and the power of social media. By using our school hashtag, too, it created one place where the excitement grew, the story was told, and the strength of the community celebrated.

If your school doesn’t have a hashtag yet, talk with your principal. Volunteer to lead the charge. Create a committee. Involve students. Invite all stakeholders to use the hashtag and share positive stories about your school.

David killed Goliath with a rock. Public education supporters can use social media to dilute the negative messages about education. Be the change.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer,

    Thank you for sharing! It's so great to see all the wonderful things happening in your school and you are right about the BIG impact that can happen from little tweets. As @benjamingilpin often says, "If we don't tell our story, someone else will". We need to make it a positive story!