Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Social media and National PTA

According to their newsletter, National PTA is using social media.

It looks like they are in the beginning stages. After a little time, I hope to see that they are engaging and listening. For instance, I hope to see the PTA Twitter account follow PTA members.

From their newsletter (at the bottom):

PTA Introduces Social Networking Channels

You can now connect to PTA through a variety of online social networks:

  • Facebook — Stay connected through PTA's Facebook Fan Page.
  • YouTube — Watch PTA videos and media moments.
  • Fotki — Photo galleries of PTA events and programs.
  • Twitter — Quick updates, perfect for mobile devices.

Some educators I work with keep saying "My clients don't use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc." My response generally is:

  • Use these tools to help yourself keep up and stay connected and learn from others.
  • Develop something useful with these tools so your clients can learn from you.
  • Eventually, they (your clients) will use these tools. You never know, some may already use them-you just don't know it.

In my explanation and response, I have not thought of how our partnering agencies maybe using these tools. National PTA is an example. Recently I discovered Covington County (Alabama) Red Cross is using Twitter. I already knew American Red Cross and my local county, Lee County (Alabama) Red Cross are using Twitter, but what I did not know is how much Red Cross is using Twitter. Local chapters seem to also have web pages, blogs or wikis.

Cooperative Extension cannot wait until the adoption is immersed in their local communities. The tools are already being used in their local communities, at least to some degree, and the use of these tools will continue to increase.

How should an educator get started?

  • Try something new. Try any social media tool (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, LinkedIn, Ning, FriendFeed, YouTube, Slideshare--you get the idea--try anything!).
  • Listen with Google Alerts.
  • Learn to use a news reader.
  • Listen with Google blog searches and keep up with changes through a news reader.
  • Follow a few blogs by using a news reader.
  • Edit something in Wikipedia, particularly if you have found something that was not fully explained.
  • Create something new in Wikipedia.

 

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2 comments:

Lynette Spicer said...

Anne,
I like your suggestions for extension educators. I'm contemplating, really I want, to offer a session on blogging for Iowa State extension educators. Give them some ideas of what others are doing across the country (courtesy of your link list).
One of my colleagues suggested I focus on what's new in blogging. Do you have ideas for me? To my knowledge, we don't have educators blogging now.
Thanks.

Anne Adrian said...

Hey Lynette,

Though I have said many times that blogging is a perfect fit for Extension educators because they tend to be passionate about helping others and about their subject area, I think that it may be better to start Extension educators with keeping up with their subject matter on the web. One way is Google Alerts.

Another way is to microblog.

Maybe one way is to watch other Extension educators. A good link list can be found Social Media in Extension . More sites are being added.

As far as trends in blogging, I think we have to consider why we are blogging. What is the goal in blogging?

Also, I think we should ask Extension educators what are the problems they want to solve.

A possible question to ask them is: What is it that frustrates you, as an Extension educator? Possible answer is "I really hate it when a client has taken the advice that is not sound." A possible way to combat that is to have an Internet presence--blogging being one method, but videos and photos are other methods.

Another question: "What would you, as an educator, like to do better?" Answers may keep up with what trends are happening around their subject area. Possible solutions would include Google Alerts and Google blog searches (and reading RSS feeds).

As far as trends in blogging, we may be seeing a slowdown in technology blogging, but an increase in Twitter and FriendFeed. But, I wonder if that is the case in every subject. Extension educators have so much to offer--not necessarily always current news, but practical responses.

One trend that I think may keep evolving is all-in one sites that let you read feeds, mark sites, make comments on links and Twitter messages. FriendFeed is an example. This is yet another place to start engagement without the "full" committment of blogging.

What do you think? As a side note, can I help in other ways, let me know.