My series on the potential value of blogging by K-12 administrators continues today. In this post I'll cover issues related to community building and customer relations. Previous posts addressed issues related to news sharing, progress monitoring, status alerts, marketing, and public relations. This series of posts stems from Chapter 4 of The Corporate Blogging Book by Debbie Weil. So... why blog as an administrator?

Reason 6: Community building

Blogs can be an excellent tool for facilitating feelings of community within a school organization. Whether a blog serves an internal or external audience, regular posts can keep stakeholders informed of important events as well as those incidents that might go unnoticed in the hectic day-to-day activitiy of schools. If you read the administrator blogs at Lewis Elementary School (OR) or Mabry Middle School (GA), you can see that the ongoing stream of news, updates, and highlights can't help but contribute to feelings of connectedness by students, staff, parents, and other community members.

Blogs are different than e-mail listservs and static web pages because they're interactive. When a principal sends out an e-mail over a listserv or posts a notice on a web page, there is no way for the school community to interact with that message. If someone has a question or comment, it either doesn't get made or it's merely a one-to-one communication with the principal via e-mail, voice mail, or telephone call. In contrast, the comments feature of blogs allows anyone to post a question or comment and thus everyone else in the community can see it, see the principal's (or someone else's) response, and add his or her own two cents to the conversation. The blog thus facilitates ongoing dialogue between multiple school stakeholders rather than being a static one-way, or maybe two-way, transmission. What blogs can do, that listservs and web pages can't, is facilitate conversation.

Reason 7: Customer relations

Of course all of this is good for customer relations. Principals who are actively and publicly interacting with school stakeholders, listening to their concerns, responding to those concerns and other questions, and generally being accessible (p. 56) are facilitating good customer relations and building goodwill within the school community. Parents, community members, staff, and students are going to feel more positively about the school when they have the opportunity to not only get frequent updates about what is going on but also ask questions, post concerns, give suggestions, etc. This openness - this overt transparency - builds stakeholder confidence and satisfaction with the direction and activities of the school.

Three down, two to go! Here's the schedule for the rest of the week:

  • Thursday: branding and creating customer evangelists
  • Friday: thought leadership, advocacy, and replacing the school web site