A recent exchange via Twitter with one of my high school students should serve as Best Practice for us grown ups when dealing with social media! The mission should be education - we should add value to our students' lives as well as the world around us. We should model good behavior as well. Some of you are guilty of questionable statements and comments on social media too. Why would it surprise us when our children follow suit?
The scenario: I announce snow closing and/or delays first on Twitter - as an unintended result, I have more high school kids following me than I ever did before. I see an upside, at least one voice they will have no choice but to "hear" is my own. I take that as a responsibility to teach and learn with them. I do not see it as my job to police their Tweets. The student asked a great question about what the delay would mean for HSPA Testing to which I responded. What happened next was very interesting...the student wrote back (half joking I suspect) and essentially showed concern that I would look at his Tweets... I am fascinated that any of our students would send out messages via social media that they would later be worried about. Simply, they should know better. My response says it all. We need to make sure our students understand that you can't get back what is Tweeted, Blogged, Facebooked, Pintrested, etc... once it is out there, it is out there. In many ways, social media has made the administrator's job of discipline easier - there is evidence that can't be refuted in most cases of bullying or harassment.
My vision is to help the students build a social media resume that they can be proud of instead of worrying about what will be seen by their supt.
So, instead of spending our time policing and banning these tools, we should teach "Tech Tool 101". To my students out there... I am not looking for your inappropriate Tweets, but someone is and it tells of your character - it also has implications for your future. I promise this, your future employer or University admissions office will search to see what your footprint looks like. Don't wait until then to try to put the toothpaste back.