Sunday, April 10, 2016

Social Media for Board Members: presentation by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education at NSBA

Maryland Association of Boards of Education is here on Twitter, BTW.

Coming up as part of the presentation
  • brief what it is "not a lot of slides now"
  • your activity on social media
  • other board members
  • your school system on social media
statistics on social media are larger every year
a lot of which one matters to you depends on who your audience is : choose your venue by audience
"is there a problem with board members on social media? I think there is"
"how to tell your story on social media and not become your story on social media"

areas of concern: 
  • content that undermines or avoids the deliberative process at the board table
  • updates and pictures that are unprofessional
  • content that is inappropriate and damaging to a member's credibility
  • content that share confidential information
"anything that harms the public perception of the board is the're already in the public cross hairs" Don't bring it on yourself!

cautions: Comply with the law!
Be aware of your image online: "what conclusions are people going to be drawing about me?" Have it evaluated by a third party.
Think before you post! Be aware that the internet is not the place for a private conversation, anger, or negative emotions.
People are aware, even on your private posting, that you are a board member.
Commenting on negative postings of yourself (during elections, for example) does not help.

"What you do online is going to always be a reflection not only of you, but of your board"
Being a board member is not a hat that you can take off.

Don't wait until there is a problem with your fellow members on the use of social media! Address in handbooks, training, retreats.
Deal with it when you don't have a real issue in front of you.
Look at policy for employees; while it is not exactly a parallel, much should be parallel.
Role may be to educate other board members on what other districts and board members are doing.

"just because the account doesn't mean you have to post"
Sometimes watching for a bit is a good thing.

Represent your district proudly; use social media to highlight positive things in your district. If there are problems and issues "bring them to the board table."
Follow and share; but have a plan!

posting about an issue that's coming up; share a link to info and offer a way to provide input
"encouraging community involvement without trying to steer community involvement"

campaigning on social media: free, fast, less formal way to communicate, far reaching effect, drives voters to your website, AND EXPECTED
needs to be within limits of campaign laws, should be closely monitored, update constantly
check with state board attorney about all of it, remain positive, refrain from negative campaigning, shift to work as board member post-election

Best practices for districts: develop, communicate, and follow guidelines for school system use of social media (don't say "we have to come back and do this!")
"please don't go back there and say this is what I said we had to do!"
know your audience and engage your audience!
trust your audience: allow comments!
Be professional but have fun with your posts

Free speech rights: "that's what you think about, right?"
Is the speaker conveying a message? Is it one a reasonable observer would understand? That is the test for speech as potentially constitutionally protected
speech that is not protected: obscene, defamatory, likely to incite lawless action, fighting words, true threats, unwarranted invasion of privacy, publishing confidential material NOT entitled to constitutional protection.

Clarify how you are speaking: you don't speak for the Board unless you're the official spokesman
People WILL assume you speak for the Board unless you clarify (and sometimes even then).

Don't post statements that make it appear you have already formed an opinion on matters to come before the board, as you may then need to recuse yourself.

If you solicit public opinion on an issue before the board, don't give the impression that you'll vote with the majority of feedback. "People expect you to use your judgment"

Open Meeting Law and Sunshine Laws still apply online! Don't deliberate with a quorum!

Be sure to post only publicly released information.Always respect the privacy of students and staff members.

Comply with acceptable use policies if you're using school-provided technology.

Be aware your posts may need to be retained in accordance with public records laws or district record retentions.

Don't become an example for one of these presentations!

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