Editorial: Kaneland looks to social media to connect with community

The Elburn Herald on Monday had the privilege of attending a media breakfast hosted by Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler and School Board President Cheryl Krauspe. The friendly, informal get-together was a vehicle for the School District to present its new social media strategy to members of local media that were in attendance at the breakfast, including Hawkview, Aurora Beacon News and The Kane County Chronicle.

In case you haven’t already guessed, Kaneland’s social media strategy entails the School District distributing its information via Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, with the name of strengthening communication by reaching a “broader community audience” and “increasing public engagement.”

In other words, this strategy will allow Kaneland parents, local residents and students to receive District 302-oriented news via some of their favorite social networking sites—not too shabby of an idea, considering the countless hours we spend on these sites during a given day. We might as well do something productive while we’re searching for Tweets confirming that Justin Bieber and his girlfriend are still together.

Here’s why the Kaneland social media strategy is a winner, though: social media has become a go-to information tool for those who crave breaking news. When people want to hear about specific news as it is breaking, they don’t turn on the television or the radio; they hop on the computer and comb Twitter for tweets (posts) from the news media members they follow on the site; they log on to Facebook and tab specific pages for information.

Say you follow Anderson Cooper on Twitter. That means your Twitter feed (the rolling post box that sits on the right of Twitter’s site page) will blossom into an oasis of breaking news from Anderson Cooper whenever something important happens in the world … or when he feels like tweeting his thoughts on popular culture, foods he likes and dislikes, whether he’s concerned about “sharknado,” etc. Essentially, Twitter allows you to take the information pipeline and customize it based on your personal interests. Therefore, you receive only what you want to see. Some people only subscribe to the Twitter feeds of sports beat writers so they can be among the first to know about breaking news; others are only interested in what Rush Limbaugh and Conan O’Brien tweet. And now in addition to your favorite media personalities, athletes and celebrities, you’ll be able to follow Kaneland School District 302 on Twitter, which will funnel any and all Kaneland-related news into your Twitter feed. Simple. Efficient. Effective.

And sure enough, we learned during the media breakfast that Twitter will serve as Kaneland’s go-to tool for disseminating important information and links posted elsewhere. Facebook will be used to share school achievement information, event announcements, deadline reminders and links to external coverage (perhaps from yours truly). Both sites will be used to disclose school closings and bus information.

Last but not least, Tumblr will serve as a way for parents, students and other members of the community to view items that stem from every school in District 302, including classroom projects, special events and student and staff successes. Consider it a personal look at the students and staff that make each and every Kaneland school unique.

And in case you’re wondering, the social media sites will support current district informational tools such as KCNewsletter and Konnect Mobile Application.

“We have been working on the development of a social media strategy since spring,” Schuler said following the breakfast. “It will allow us an additional avenue for delivering timely and relevant information to our families. This is consistent with our communications goal as we continue to look for opportunities to enhance two-way dialogue communications with our communities. As far as the next steps, we want to do what we are doing well and will then look at next steps.”