Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't fear the blog

I found myself saying and thinking these words today following a blogging 101 presentation to a group of principals, directors, and coordinators in our school district. Our school district is embarking on a voluntary blogging initiative for administrators.

We presented the group with the basics of defining a blog followed up with a why we think administrators should care about blogging.

An administrator's blog (written by a principal, director, coordinator or other leadership team member) can be a place where parents, students and other staff can read some of the latest news, thoughts, and information from school district leadership and engage in respectful dialogue.

These are the short guidelines we gave them:
  • Write what you know.
  • Be interesting, Be Honest & Be Yourself.
  • It's a two-way street.
  • Respect confidentiality and privacy.
  • Think about Consequences.
  • Most Important: Blog Smart.
(Hat tip to: Blogger, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, Graco, Feedster, Fellowship Church, IBM, and Forrester Research)

Here's a portion of what I said to the group:
Each of you has a unique perspective that could be shared with a small or even large audience depending on how you want to tell your stories. You have the ability to provide insight into the decision-making process for your campus, department or even district-level. We are encouraging you to be a part of the conversation.
The initial reaction seemed to be the typical FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that comes when you try to engage an (sometimes older) audience with basic/advanced communications technology. The digital natives thrive on it and the digital immigrants run from it.

Although, I will give credit to a few brave souls who were interested in continuing the conversation and genuinely willing to give it a try.

I think it is in the best interests of school district administrators to pay attention to existing as well as new and emerging communication technologies for adaptation. One elementary principal noted that her parents are getting younger and younger and these technologies (like blogs) are commonly used.

I think it's time to get our collective heads out the ground and take steps into the social web.

Photo credit: dogsivu