Social media and the education space

I’m often fond of saying that the education community is typically one of the last to truly embrace new technologies. We lagged healthcare and other spaces when it came to moving onto the Internet and using websites to improve information sharing. We were slow to platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, and some could say we still struggle with maximizing the reach and opportunity they afford, at least compared to other spaces.

Twitter seems to be a different story. In recent years (and recent months), we have witnessed the enormous education-focused power of Twitter. To get information out to teachers and school leaders and parents. To engage in conversations with individuals and organizations we might not regularly get to spend time with. To spotlight issues and concerns that may not receive the attention of the mainstream media. To raise awareness, understanding, and action on the key policy, research and instructional issues of the day.

Connected Educators, an effort started by the U.S. Department of Education a few years ago, is the perfect example of the possibility. ESchool News named it one of the top 10 ed-tech stories of 2013. During Connected Educators Month (October 2013), there were more than 600 events and activities, with participation from more than 330 national, state and local organizations. More than 13 million educators and others were reached via Twitter alone, generating an average of 4.6 million impressions a day. The numbers are more than impressive, but it is also a great example of the power of Twitter in advancing important issues, particularly with educators.

The education social media community is a great space to play in. Every summer, Education Next publishes its list of the Top Twitter Feeds in Education Policy. Eduflack is always in awe of the folks of this list, and is appreciative that he has been included on it each year. The wide range of voices, experiences and perspectives one finds on this annual list (and on so many education-focused feeds that aren’t on the list), are just incredible. And some days it almost feels like a family (even if it is a family where you can’t stand that uncle across the country).

Why all the kudos for the education social media space? Next month, PR News magazine is recognizing its inaugural class of “Social Media MVPs,” an honor that will be awarded at its Social Media Icon Awards event in New York City. I’m deeply humbled that I’ve been included on this list. And with all of the terrific SM voices in the education space, it seems I am the only education-focused voice on the list. I could start a long list of those who are far more worthy.

In announcing the list, PR News noted, “The Social Media MVPs represent the innovators and trendsetters on social media. These professionals were nominated by colleagues and carefully selected by PR News to be part of this esteemed list.”

Now I don’t know about all that. But I do know that on the SM playground, I am so appreciative of all of the reporters and researchers and educators and others who develop the articles and reports and events on which I am so fond of focusing. And I owe big thanks to the 15,500 followers on the @Eduflack Twitter feed, particularly those who like to engage and have a little back and forth with me and to my colleagues here at Collaborative Communications, who let me play in this fun space and give me so many great thoughts on issues and ideas to share on SM.

The 2014 class of Social Media MVPs is an impressive one, including:

  • David Armano, Edelman Digital
  • Danielle Brigida, National Wildlife Federation
  • LaSandra Brill, Symantec
  • Amelia Burke-Garcia, Westat
  • Erica Campbell Byrum, For Rent Media Solutions and Homes.com
  • Kevin Dando, PBS
  • Jim Delaney, Activate Sports & Entertainment
  • Scott DeYager, Toyota Motor Sales USA
  • Frank Eliason, Citibank
  • Sam Ford, Peppercomm
  • Joy Hays, AT&T
  • Brett Holland, Pepco Holdings, Inc.
  • Bob Jacobs, NASA
  • Leanne Jakubowski, Walt Disney World Resort
  • Evan Kraus, APCO Worldwide
  • Stacy Martinet, Mashable
  • Christi McNeill, Patron Spirits Company
  • Kristin Montalbano, National Geographic Channel
  • Christopher S. Penn, SHIFT Communications
  • Patrick R. Riccards, Collaborative Communications
  • Jennifer Stalzer, MasterCard
  • Lt. Stephanie M. Young, United States Coast Guard
  • Albe Zakes, TerraCycle

Kudos to all of those on the list. Social media is one of those things that you either love or you don’t. And from following many on this list, these are folks who truly love SM and the engagement that comes from it.

 

(This post originally appeared on the Eduflack blog on May 16, 2014.)