The New Jersey School Boards Association hosted its’ annual convention in Atlantic City a couple of weeks ago. Like any other convention, it’s a large collection of vendors, workshops, wheeling & dealing, and catching up (or avoiding, depending on who you are) with former coworkers or Districts. While I had a great time getting ideas, seeing awesome things in action, and being solicited by scads of vendors, I did notice one thing different here.
Most conferences have vigorously pursued an online presence so folks that could not attend or want to partake in several different conversations can do such. There was no such thing here. When I spoke about it to other Superintendents, many wanted nothing to do with it.
Many administrators are still running scared of social media. The essential question: WHY IS THIS STILL HAPPENING?
Yes, I recall so many negative stories that have graced our headlines, and of course, there still are many to be had. However, what most don’t hear about? The rash of infectious awesomeness and has spored from productive, energized conversations. All online. Yes, it’s true. Chances are that if you’re reading my blog, you already are!
Through the power of analytics and technology, we do know that more and more are ‘lurking’ online – they are reading the twitter feeds, skimming blogs, and are ‘aware’ of all of it. But, seriously, I sound like a broken record at this point – WHY DO YOU NOT ENGAGE?
Effective change needs to be modeled at the top and then turn into a groundswelling of support. I’m tired of hearing the same old, same old. I’m tired to the old-boys-club, thick-as-thieves mentality. We, as Superintendents, are all on our own island. We have the ability to initiate change and do it effectively. It starts with us, and it starts by showing that you are not afraid to engage in these productive dialogues.
I recently read a blog post that spoke about how there’s no dissent on educational social media forums. I tend to agree; I admit I’ll get snarky from time to time, but that brings up better conversation. All of this is not suppose to be kool-aid; it’s a real conversation, laced with pros and pitfalls. Share your concerns on here, and we’ll hash it out.
Once you see the benefits of being connected, I think you’ll be much more relieved knowing that there is an entire planet at your fingertips waiting to help you navigate the waters if you want them to.
So, my goal for next convention: get more leaders to become engaged.
What helps youth, helps you.