I’ve been keeping one eye on the feed aggregator, watching the developing story of how schools navigate the new 2.0 terrain, and how individual educators walk—or blur—the line between employee and blogger.  Christian at think:lab posted about this a couple of days ago, referencing an eSchool News article titled "Employee blogs require smart policies" that ends with this handy advice:

With more than 38 million
full-time workers in the U.S. having on-the-job internet access, the
intersection between personal and organizational interests is only
going to increase.

Wise school leaders need to start
choreographing that dance now, so they can leverage the benefits of
online publishing while minimizing–and even avoiding–the inherent
risks.

Bingo. It remains to be seen what the choreography will look like. Ballroom? Disco? Mosh pit?

Another post by Miguel Guhlin over at TechLearning highlights some of the essentials of social media. He starts with a boiled-down list of fundamental characteristics of social media from Dion Hinchcliffe’s Web 2.0 Blog that really should be printed on bookmarks and passed around at meetings.

  1. Communication in the form of conversation…must facilitate
  two-way discussion, discourse, and debate with little or no moderation
  or censorship.

2. Participants in social media are people, not
  organizations.

3. Honesty and transparency are core values.
  Spin and attempting to control, manipulate, or even spam the
  conversation are thoroughly discouraged.

4. It’s all about
  pull, not push
. Pull systems let people bring to them the content
  and relationships that they want, instead of having it forced upon them
  by an external entity…with extremely large audiences. As you shape a
  social media community, understanding how to make embrace pull instead
  of push is one of the core techniques. In social media, people are in
  control of their conversations, not the pushers.

5. Distribution
  instead of centralization
. Social media is highly distributed and
  made up of tens of millions of voices making it far more textured, rich,
  and heterogeneous than old media could ever be (or want to be).
  Encouraging conversations on the vast edges of our networks, rather than
  in the middle, is what this point is all about.

Miguel goes on:

  These are some quick reflections about how Web 2.0 is going to hit
  schools, but much more needs to be considered. These are simply MY
  efforts at better understanding the changes. I do know that those of us
  responsible for introducing these Web 2.0 points in schools will either
  be greeted as heroes, or martyred. Again, the key is to focus on a
  grassroots approach where it becomes obvious to everyone, from
  superintendent to students to Board members that PUSH isn’t as good as
  PULL, that two-way conversations rather than top-down edicts are the way
  to go, that honesty and transparency are ALWAYS to be valued not just
  because it’s politically expedient, and the more people one has at the
  table, the better…and the virtual table is large indeed.

Hey, in addition to the bookmarks, how about a whole series of mugs, inspirational posters, and polo shirts emblazoned with catchy, informative slogans spreading the social media message? Title for the information campaign:

                    What’s the (2)point(0)?

Possible slogans appearing soon on a mug or shirt near you:

  • PULL is better than PUSH
  • My feed aggregator can beat up your feed aggregator.
  • See you later whenever I want, aggregator.
  • I leave comments.
  • Will blog for food.   
  • My folksonomy went to Technorati and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.

Yeah, we’ll get right on that with the marketing people. But seriously, all of this at least starts pointing us in the right direction. We’re setting the virtual table. At some point, we’ll have to identify our school’s stakeholders and invite them to the table. Dinner and dancing?

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