What’s your social media personality How it helps or hinders networking implementation and success in early education settings


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What’s your social media personality? How it helps or hinders networking implementation and success
Reprinted with permission from Exchange magazine. Visit us at www.ChildCareExchange.com or call (800) 221-2864. Multiple use copy agreement available for educators by request

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What’s your social media personality How it helps or hinders networking implementation and success in early education settings

  1. 1. 8 SOCIAL MEDIA EXCHANGE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 201 1 Reprinted with permission from Exchange magazine. Visit us at www.ChildCareExchange.com or call (800) 221-2864. Multiple use copy agreement available for educators by request. What’s your social media personality? How it helps or hinders networking implementation and success by Fran Simon and Chip Donohue Social media is all the rage. Your board when it comes to social media adoption professional work, or how it can help members and front office staff are all in early childhood (or any field, for that your program. You are stymied about atwitter about Twitter, Facebook, and matter!). What is your social media per- how to apply what you know about LinkedIn. The parents want an online sonality, and how does it impact your social media to your challenges as an group to connect with other parents and program’s use of social media? Find administrator. hear about classroom news. Your staff your personality in the list below: n The Tester: You ‘get it!’ You’ve been members want new ways to connect watching and interacting with other with each other and the parents. And, n The Resistor: You are dead set against programs and organizations that have all of your stakeholders want you to the idea of using computers to com- Facebook business pages and groups produce a blog or an email newsletter municate when good, old-fashioned or LinkedIn groups. You set up a pres- instead of a print newsletter. Expecta- face-to-face networking and promo- ence for your program on Facebook, tions are high. What are you doing tion has worked all of these years. but nothing happened! Now what? about all of this interest? Your core challenge: How do you Your core challenge: You don’t know respond to the pressure you feel from how to get people to join in and inter- In my role as a social media consultant, others who are sure social media is act with your social media pages, and and Chip’s work in online learning, we the best development since Froebel? you are worried about how much time have identified five personalities at play it will take to manage the additional n The Intimidated: You want to use work of maintaining these presences. Fran Simon is the Chief Engagement Officer social networking, but you don’t of Engagement Strategies, LLC, her own national marketing, social media and early know how to get started. It’s all very n The Expert: Your organization has education publishing consulting company. foreign, confusing, and scary. You a Facebook page with hundreds of She has been a professional Early Childhood educator and a passionate technologist would rather keep your head low and ‘fans’ who are using the page for since 1981. Early in her career as a multi-site child care hope the excitement dies down. everything from play dates to com- administrator, she learned that her ability to use technology Your core challenge: How do you move municating about developmentally to accomplish her goals was one of the most powerful skills in her administrative toolkit. Fran also used those skills in her forward without admitting you have appropriate practice. You use Twitter positions at Teaching Strategies, Inc., the National Association no idea what ‘social networking’ to broadcast news and learn the latest of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, and as a Board Member and Vice President of the Technology and Young means? How do you handle your developments in the field, and you use Children Interest Forum of NAEYC. technology anxiety? LinkedIn to recruit and communicate Chip Donohue, PhD, is the Director of Dis- with staff. tance Learning at Erikson Institute in Chicago n The Personal User: You have a per- Your core challenge: You want to make and a Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and sonal Facebook page or LinkedIn pro- sure your staff, board, and parents Children’s Media. He is a leader in the file. You use it to connect with friends, understand and apply best practice in social media, and you want to innovative use of technology and distance learning methods to increase access, create pathways, family, colleagues, and classmates. enhance learning, and improve teaching practices in early Your core challenge: You can’t envision continue to use it to raise money, hire childhood education. He spends lots of time playing with new how anything called ‘social network- staff, advocate in your community, technology tools to enable relationships and build learning communities online. ing’ can possibly be used in your and increase enrollment.
  2. 2. SOCIAL MEDIA 9 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 201 1 EXCHANGE Helping Children Become More Active & Healthy! Active Play Playground The largest assortment of active play equipment for Climbing young children! Call today for your FREE catalog! 1-888-330-1826Why “The Resistor” plays an is a good exercise. It can be the roadmap to daily life as brushing your teeth:important role in social media careful planning that we all need. • Facebook has more than 400 millionadoption active users, and 50% of them log on Facing your core challenge: How to to Facebook on any given day. That’sIt’s counterintuitive: People who resist respond to the hype, use your good 175 million users every 24 hours.change can actually be good for the judgment, and accept the inevitable • People spend over 500 billionprocess of implementing change. Think minutes per month on Facebook.about it: Resistance slows momentum We wish we could say that it would be • More than 700,000 local businessesdown. While that’s not always good, okay for you to just say “no” to social have active pages on Facebook.when a freight train is running amok, media, but in fact, we can’t. It’s time to con- • Purpose-built Facebook pages haveresistance is great. And, the frenzy about sider that you must ‘deal’ with social me- created more than 5.3 billion fans.social media sometimes causes people dia. A simple search on Google will reveal • Mothers have become a targetand organizations to gain too much millions of articles about why businesses audience for ads on Facebook.momentum too quickly. Far too many (and that includes early childhood pro-organizations rushed to put up a Twit- grams) and non-profit organizations need Clearly, a lot of eyes are on Facebook,ter presence or Facebook page without to use social media to achieve their goals. but that’s just part of the social mediaever considering why they were doing it, We could write for days on the topic, but story.what they hoped to achieve, and how it instead, we’ll focus on four critical points:would be maintained. Social media resis- • LinkedIn has over 70 milliontors cause excitement and hoopla to die 1) Social media is pervasive. In fact, it is members.down, so there’s time to contemplate the so pervasive, and so mainstream, that • A new member joins LinkedIntough questions. They force the advo- even traditional media organizations approximately every second.cates among us to make a case for why like television and radio stations and • Executives from all Fortune 500we want to implement this new, time- newspapers use social networking to companies are LinkedIn members.consuming initiative, think through our connect with their audiences. Here aregoals, and question if the medium is right a few statistics that illustrate how social LinkedIn and Facebook are just thefor our organization. Convincing resistors media has become as much of a part of tip of the social media iceberg. For
  3. 3. 10 SOCIAL MEDIA EXCHANGE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 201 1 more eye-popping information and great guidance on social media, visit Top Social Media Sites for ECE the Social Networking section of the Pew Internet and American Life Project Facebook: http://Facebook.com website at www.pewinternet.org/ What is it? A very social social networking site topics/Social-Networking.aspx. The Why: EVERYONE is on Facebook, easy to use, high-interactivity fact is, the data tells an important story: Best for: Connecting with prospective parents, parents, staff, donors Social media and social networking are Most important tool: ‘Organization Pages’ just impossible to ignore. LinkedIn: http://LinkedIn.com What is it? A business-oriented networking site 2) Your core constituency — parents, Why: Best for more serious business use, great for connecting with other profes- donors, board members, grant makers, sionals for professional discussions and idea sharing, and great for recruiting staff. colleagues, and staff members — are Most important tool: ‘LinkedIn Groups’ also core social media users! In fact, 62% of social media users are between Twitter: http://Twitter.com the ages of 25 and 54 — the very face What is it? A ‘Microblogging site’ in which users share links to great information of all of the adult stakeholders in your and their thoughts in 140 characters or less organization. Besides connecting with Why: A very tight ECE community has grown on Twitter; best for getting the word friends and posting photos, what are out quickly they doing on these social networking Most important tool: ‘Hashtags’ make them your best friend! sites? They are researching and becom- Caution: Learn about hashtags or Twitter won’t make sense to you ing educated consumers of child care, donors, and advocates for their children YouTube: http://YouTube.com and their communities. They are mak- What is it: A social networking site where video takes center stage ing important decisions based on what Why: Nothing tells a story as well as video; great for demonstrating DAP, convincing they hear from other people online. donors and policy- makers You have to be there. You cannot afford Most important tool: ‘Channels’ to be missed online. When it comes to marketing and communication, there’s cally for your stakeholders. They write it. You need to be on social networking an old adage that says, “Be where the reviews that appeal to prospective par- sites, if for no other reason, to know what people are,” and clearly, your people ents, the parents of children enrolled in is being said about your organization. are on social media. They are the people your program, prospective employees, People are going to post positive and you need for your organization. It’s time and your current staff. AND, trust us, negative comments about your program to be present. they ARE talking about and comparing or organization on social media. Whether child care programs. . . . Maybe even you like it or not, social networking forces 3) Surprise! Your colleagues are on social yours. Think about these facts: transparency. Even if you are not online, media! More are joining every day. you are exposed. You can let it happen If you find that hard to believe, check • 53.3% of the total blogging popula- without ever knowing, or you can be out the results of the Exchange InstaPoll tion is 21-35 years old. Bloggers aged there to redirect the commenter or diffuse on social media: www.childcare 20 and under came in second, with the situation. Don’t you think it’s better to exchange.com/survey/poll_results. 20.2%, followed by 36-50-year-olds at least know what’s being said? php?survey_id=219 (at 19.4%), and 51-year-olds and If you are looking to connect with some older (7.1%). It’s time to put down your dukes: of those folks, visit Fran’s • 70% of bloggers are organically talk- Make way for a little acceptance and ECE Social Media Directory at: ing about brands on their blog. a lot of planning! www.esbyfs.com/socialece. If you • 38% of bloggers post brand or would like to be added to the directory, product reviews. (They do talk about With the facts and figures as a backdrop, complete the form at: child care, and parents read and balance your healthy skepticism with www.surveymonkey.com/s/C7WR8HZ respond to these posts!) good judgment and acceptance. Use your arguments against social media as the ba- 4) There are thousands of bloggers Social media is how people communicate sis for questions to guide your planning. focused on writing content specifi- in the 21st century. It’s time to accept Form a small group of trusted social me-
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  5. 5. 12 SOCIAL MEDIA EXCHANGE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 201 1 dia savvy advisors to work through your not mind having your grandmother • Watch your Facebook Wall News Feed concerns, develop a social media policy, read. And, you need to learn about to see the posts that other people and and a high-level plan for getting involved your privacy settings on all of the social organizations make. in social media at a sane and rational pace networking sites, and adjust them to • Finally, make the Facebook Getting that makes sense for your organization. the level that makes you comfortable. Started Guide your new BFF (Best Build in time for ample professional devel- Next you’ll need to form a basic under- Friend Forever): www.facebook. opment, so you are well-informed about standing of Social Networking, and for com/#!/help/?guide. the tools you or your staff will use. Most of that, we always recommend this brief all, relax into the process with the knowl- and witty, but very informative video Making the leap from personal to edge that, as always, you will be leading from CommonCraft, Social Networking professional use the way for your program to get to the next in Plain English (www.commoncraft. level with new tools and techniques. Your com/video-social-networking). While After you’ve become acclimated as a per- leadership is nothing new, but the objec- you’re at the CommonCraft site, take a sonal user, it will be time to start a page tives and tactics have changed. look at the videos about Social Media, for your organization. You’ll want to take Social ookmarking, Twitter, Wikis, B a look at a few resources as you begin to How to move from ‘Intimidated’ to Blogs, Podcasting, Online Photo Shar- ease into building and managing Pages. confident social media user ing, and RSS to round out your view of Essentially, the techniques for for-profit all social media has to offer. Spending businesses and non-profits are the same, So, we’ve convinced you that social media a little time on the CommonCraft site but here are a few resources for both to is important enough for you to take the will be fun, and will make you more get you started: first steps! We’re happy you’ve decided comfortable forging ahead. to join us! We know it can be overwhelm- • Facebook Best Practices for Non-profits ing, baffling, and maybe even a little For more guidance and ideas, cull through by Heather Mansfield, Diosa Commu- bit anxiety-provoking, so here are a few the Resources for Newbie’s on Fran’s nications: www.diosacommunications. resources that will make your exploration a Engagement Strategies site at: www.esbyfs. com/facebookbestpractices.htm little bit easier. com/socialmediaresources and www. • Facebook Advice on Squidoo: esbyfs.com/web20ece. www.squidoo.com/Facebookadvice The first step is to banish the words “I’ll • Facebook On Mashable: http://mash- never get this” from your lexicon! Just as Once you have the basic idea, you will able.com/social-media/facebook/ you mastered all you need to know to be a want to focus on the sites that are easiest confident educator and administrator, you to manage and have the biggest impact. You still may have questions about how will master this, too. If children can ‘get We recommend starting with just one all of this works, specifically for early it,’ so can you! If technophobia and social social media site at a time, so let’s start care and education. It can be hard to cross media anxiety are holding you back, just with Facebook. over to the ability to apply social media remember these key points: to our field. Fortunately, we have some Facebook (http://Facebook.com) is de- great examples for you. Let’s go on a brief • Social media (and computers for that signed to walk you through the first steps social-media safari: matter) are relatively new in the history of setting up a personal profile and con- of the world. We were all ‘newbies’ necting with others. You will want to get Children’s Defense Fund is one of the once, and it wasn’t that long ago. Social accustomed to the climate with a personal best examples for those of you who oper- networking, in the true sense of the profile before you develop a page for your ate non-profit membership, public policy, concept, is less than a decade old. We all organization. The best ways to orient or advocacy organizations. CDF expertly started with the same questions, fears, yourself is to: intertwines Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and concerns. LinkedIn, and other social media sites • You will not ‘break’ anything. Neither • Connect with (or ‘Friend’) your per- with their Email Marketing and website. the Internet nor your computer will be sonal contacts and friends. It’s a social media marketing, outreach, broken by exploring social media. • Search for some organizations (like fundraising, and advocacy bonanza! • There are only two cautions: First, know Exchange Press, World Forum Founda- Website: www.ChildrensDefenseFund. that nothing on the Internet is truly tion, NAEYC, and NACCRRA, etc., for org (Sign up for their email newsletter to private. Embrace this and learn to use it example) and ‘like’ their pages (which see how it is integrated with their social to your advantage. You should be care- is the same as ‘friending’ your personal media campaigns.) ful to post only information you would contacts). Facebook: www.facebook.com/
  6. 6. SOCIAL MEDIA 13 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 201 1 EXCHANGEChildrensDefensedFundYouTube: www.youtube.com/user/childrensdefense (Video is central toCDF’s campaigns)Twitter: http://twitter.com/ChildDefenderLinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=99638The InvestiGator Club Page on Face-book is a page developed and hosted byJudith Coffey from Robert-LesliePublishing. The page currently hasaround 9,000 ‘fans’ who are passionatelyengaged parents, ECE professionals,and other professionals. The page isan incredible example of interactivityand engagement on Facebook. This is aclassic case study for how active and in-teractive you want your Facebook pageto become. Take a look at The Investi-Gator Club page at www.facebook.com/InvestiGatorClub?ref=ts.Teach Preschool by Deborah J. Stewartoffers an incredible resource for teach-ers and other early childhood profes-sionals on her blogs, Twitter presence,and Facebook Pages. Deborah drawson her experiences as a teacher, direc-tor, curriculum writer, music director,and consultant for staff training andprofessional development to providea steady stream of predictably excitingand interesting activities and resourcesfor the field.Website: http://deborahjstewart.com/Blog: http://deborahjstewart.com/blog/Facebook: www.facebook.com/TeachpreschoolTwitter: http://twitter.com/teach_preschool There are many more outstanding ex-amples, but it can be hard to find them.Fran has compiled a list of Early Child-hood Educators on Social Media for herwebsite. Engagement Strategies by FranSimon, www.esbyfs.com/socialece. It’sa good place to start your personal ECESocial Media safari. You might also want
  7. 7. 14 SOCIAL MEDIA EXCHANGE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 201 1 to join the Internet4ECE Group (http:// 27, 2010, from http://press.linkedin. ow.ly/1EEYR) on LinkedIn for more tips Connect with Fran com/ and advice. Using Social Media Donohue, C. (2010, September). There’s The most important thing you can do Engagement Strategies, LLC: an app for (almost) everything: New to extend your social media knowledge www.ESbyFS.com technology tools for early childhood beyond personal use is to immerse your- professionals — Part 2. Exchange, 195, LinkedIn: self in the experience. Join online groups, 78-82. www.linkedin.com/in/fransimon ‘like’ Facebook Pages, visit the websites of similar organizations, and sign up for LinkedIn Group: Internet4ECE: Donohue, C. (2010, May). What’s in email newsletters. You have to experi- http://ow.ly/2hJo6 your toolbox? New technology tools for ence social media first hand to ‘get it.’ In early childhood professionals — Part 1. order to cross over from personal user to Twitter: Exchange, 194, 74-80. professional user, it is even more critical to www.Twitter.com/FSSimon observe how businesses and organizations Ehrlich, B. (n.d.). Look who’s blogging that are similar to yours use social media. Facebook: [STATS]. Social Media News and Web www.facebook.com/fran.s.simon Tips — Mashable — The Social Media What it takes to go from ‘You get it!’ Guide. Retrieved July 27, 2010, from to getting others to get ‘it’ on a social media field trip to visit http://mashable.com/2010/06/04/ some of the best examples that look-whos-blogging-stats/ Congratulations! You’ve mastered yet demonstrate what you hope to another critical and powerful skill to add achieve using social networking. Hird, J. (2010, January 29). 20+ mind- to your administrative toolkit. Now’s it’s Identify supporters and work with blowing social media statistics revisited time to adopt the familiar role of passion- them to draft a social media policy | Econsultancy. Econsultancy | Com- ate leader and evangelist to get people on that will help ease the fears of munity of Digital Marketing and Ecom- the same page with you. Here are three those who are reluctant. merce Professionals. Retrieved July 27, final tips to help you move into the role of b. Identify the people who can help 2010, from http://econsultancy.com/ Social Media Maven for your program: you. Remember, you will need to blog/5324-20+-mind-blowing-social- maintain your presences, so you media-statistics-revisited will need help from others for that 1) Take your organization’s social media task! Social Networking | Pew Research temperature. Informally assess your c. Use your committee to market the Center’s Internet & American Life stakeholders by talking about your presences, and get others to con- Project. (n.d.). Pew Research Center’s experiences on social media and what nect and engage. Internet & American Life Project. you have learned. If all goes well, you also might conduct a survey to get more Retrieved July 27, 2010, from detailed information. Approach Social Media Implementa- www.pewinternet.org/ tion as you might approach curriculum topics/Social-Networking.aspx implementation. Provide time for train- 2) Sit down and establish your vision. ing. Carve out time for staff to use your Warren, C. (n.d.). Moms on Facebook Determine what you want to achieve, social media presences. Make resources are savvy to marketers [STATS]. Social and set goals and objectives for your available. Inform parents and board Media News and Web Tips — Mash- program’s use of social media. Prepare members. Develop achievable and able — The Social Media Guide. yourself with an ‘elevator speech’ about measurable goals. Follow up, assess, Retrieved July 27, 2010, from http:// why social media will help your pro- and adjust as needed. mashable.com/2010/02/05/ gram, and arm yourself with persuasive counterpoints for naysayers. moms-on-facebook/ See you soon on Facebook, Twitter, 3) Form a Social Media Committee LinkedIn . . . Wee, W. (2010, March 19). The social of staff members, board members, media age distribution [STATS] | influencers, advisors, and, of course, References Penn Olson. Penn Olson. Retrieved parents. July 27, 2010, from www.penn-olson. a. Set up a projector, plug in the com- About Us | LinkedIn — Public Rela- com/2010/02/19/the-social-media- puter, and take your new advisors tions. (n.d.). LinkedIn. Retrieved July age-distribution-stats/