The typical way for a school to use social media is to set up facebook pages, start a twitter account, and slowly build a following. Poughkeepsie Day School in Poughkeepsie, New York, has already done that, but they’ve got an ace up their proverbial sleeve when it comes to social media:
The head of school is leading the charge into social media rather than relying on an assortment of departments venturing out into the social media world on their own. This unprecedented top-down approach is unlike any situation we have seen in the last 6-7 years of analyzing social media usage at schools across the country. Let’s take a closer look at how Poughkeepsie Day School does it and why it’s working.
Josie Holford is the head of Poughkeepsie Day School and was kind enough to respond to our questionnaire you’ll see on the right side of the site. How Does Your School Communicate? Unlike most heads of school in the U.S., Josie has jumped into social media with two feet. For example, she tweets, runs a successful blog, interacts on Ning sites like ISN, has a LinkedIn profile, helps with the school’s facebook page, and even has about 153,000 results appear in a Google search for her. Not too shabby. Josie was actually one of the first people to contact us after we started EduDemic about 2 weeks ago. Thanks to her, we have learned about growing trends in higher ed because of her frequently updated blog, The Compass Point. Josie even promotes her social media work on her head of school welcome message:
We invite you to come and visit PDS and see how we live our mission and reach for our vision every day. And I hope you will visit us on Facebook and become a fan and read my blog and leave your comments. But best of all, please come and visit us in person.
Her approach to social media has turned our assumptions upside down. In a quick poll of the office, 5 people assumed every school had its social media campaigns run through lower-level departments and would never have a thoroughly invested head of school doing the heavy lifting. This was a pretty safe assumption considering the tremendous amount of work and stress in the everyday lives of heads of schools.
According to Josie, the school is not on Foursquare…yet. They have plans to utilize this relatively new social network at the school “soon!” according to Josie. The school currently has two facebook pages (one for the school and one for alumni) and they do not yet use an emergency messaging system. If you are looking into emergency messaging system, click here to view Harvard’s MessageMe system.