Why blog as an administrator? - Part 3
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
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
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
It turns out the human scalp has an olfactory receptor that seems to play a crucial role in regulating hair follicle growth and death.
- Scientists treated scalp tissue with a chemical that mimics the odor of sandalwood.
- This chemical bound to an olfactory receptor in the scalp and stimulated hair growth.
- The treatment could soon be available to the public.
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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