High school is awkward. You don’t know what to say, hair is suddenly growing everywhere, and the slightest misstep can be subject to gobs of ridicule.
In a word, high school is awkward. Coincidentally, awkward also describes most high schools’ social media presence. Like the 14 freshmen who can’t seem to figure out where to go, most high schools are struggling to find direction in the sphere of social media.
Here are 5 tips for the social media freshmen. I hope they help.
Hey boys, start to listen and ask a question every now and then.
One thing I have noticed about high school boys since teaching is that high school boys do a lot of talking, but haven’t quite figured out the listening part.
Most high schools are guilty of the same when they venture out into social media land. Schools gab on and on about what is going on at the school, but don’t take the time to listen to their fans, friends, followers.
Social media is called social for a reason. People want a dialog, not just an anonymous shouting school seal. Spend some time responding to comments. Ask your friends, followers, fans some questions. Spend some time visiting their pages, figure out what they like, and talk about it.
Don’t show everything
You know how most high schoolers don’t have that little voice that says, “don’t post this picture on facebook,” well schools are the same. No one, not even your biggest fan, wants to see 100 photos from an event. More is not more. People tend to look at 18 photos. When creating a Flickr account, post some, not all. TMI is one big unsorted + uncategorized gallery. Give your viewers a focus.
Experiment and Find out who you are
I have this kid who is punk one minute and hip-hop the next. I don’t think he is posing; rather, I think he is just trying to figure out who he is. School’s should not be afraid of doing the same. Sure, it might be weird if after a year or two he is still flip flopping like a frat boys footwear, but a little variation and experimentation is perfectly normal.
Apply this to your social media voice. Play around. Are you funny, insightful, formal, or dry? See what works. See what gets people’s attention. Don’t be afraid to try.
A lot of high schoolers don’t understand the value of honesty. I know this kid who swears he can 900 on a snowboard and backflip his bike. Maybe he can, but since he can barely control his limbs enough to walk down the stairs, I doubt it. I can’t blame him though, I used to pull the same thing. Brag brag brag, lie lie lie. It happens cause you’re insecure. I dig.
But when you are a faculty member and running a social media platform, there is no excuse. Be honest. Don’t make it seem like your school has a commitment to social justice if your idea of social justice is giving everyone a pair of Toms.
Authenticity is king, and if you are not honest with your audience, the truth will eventually come out and then you will lose all credibility.
Eventually I will see this kid on a bike. It’s a metaphor!
Don’t drop out
Whatever you do, don’t drop out. I repeat, don’t drop out. Things will be tough. You will have a lot of work. People might not accept you at first. Just remember, it gets better. I promise. Eventually you will find your niche, your promise, and your voice. Just keep at it.