Become A Student of Social Media

by Barb Cote on June 3, 2010

Barb Cote

Barb Cote

There’s a new book out about how to understand and incorporate digital media in the classroom. Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids: Bringing Digital Media Into the Classroom, Grades 5-12.1 In this book, Jessica K. Parker helps teachers understand the relationship between students and digital media, while providing examples of how to create learning opportunities that leverage these new technologies. There’s a lot of controversy over whether the vast amount of time kids spend on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, plus the addiction to text messaging, is good or bad. Let’s ask the professionals.

Henry Jenkins in his blog Confessions of an Aca2 raises a great question to a panel of teaching professionals: “Many teachers fear that new media practices ̶  such as texting ̶  leave students less literate. This book challenges this presumption. How are new media practices changing the range of expressive opportunities available to students?”

Maryanne Berry  ̶  “Each new wave of media practices encounters resistance. Literary scholar Nina Baym (2006) chronicles magazine and journal articles from the early 1800’s in which editors asserted the need for reviewers to exercise surveillance and provide direction to the newly literate masses who had taken up the habit of reading fiction. Novels were dangerous!“

Erin B. Reilly  ̶  ‘New Media’ Literacy is a new form of literacy and helps teachers understand that our students are reading and writing in new ways. Reading and writing was once relegated to reading books and writing papers, but now we write into meaning through new media such as video, audio or even construction of physical objects.

“A possible hypothesis is that the educational system has not caught up with the shifting landscape of participatory culture where there are new ways to read, write, and compute numbers.”

Not only are teachers utilizing social media in their classrooms, many school administrators are utilizing Twitter and Facebook to make it easier for parents to keep up on what’s going on in their children’s schools.

Steve Matthews, Grand Ledge Public Schools superintendent, says, “We just believe that there are a lot of people who go on Facebook who may not navigate their way to the district website.  If we can provide them with district information through Facebook, we may be able to capture them and promote the district.”3

The district also has a Twitter account, a district Facebook page and Facebook pages for individual schools, with about 1600 fans.

What does this spell for marketing professionals? Stay in school! Social media is evolving daily. We all have to constantly be learning more and practicing what we are learning.  I ran across a great primer by Pam Moore of It frames social media in the larger context of setting marketing goals and coming up with a real plan of action — which MAY include social media.

Social Media 101: 12 Tips to Get Real! 4 My favorite tip: “Do NOT start with the technology Twitter or Hootsuite.  Instead use the POST methodology.  Start with the People, Objectives, Strategy, and last, Technology!

“… Social media is about engaging.  Like it or not it is about giving more than you receive.  If you don’t know what your audience wants or how you can help them, then you don’t know what to give. What does that mean? It means that your efforts in social media, internet marketing and probably business in general are going to provide half the return they could if you took the time up front to know your customer, build your plan and execute.”

I want to stay in school. I’m learning how much I don’t know every day. I’m inspired to revisit my P.O.S.T. and make sure what I am producing is relevant and engaging. And I’m excited to see how our next crop of learners will be changing the world — online and off.


1. Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids:  Bringing Digital Media Into the Classroom, Grades 5-12

2.  , by Henry Jenkins

3.  Lansing State Journal

4.  Social Media Today

About the Author:

Barb Cote serves as the Creative Director at SIGMA Marketing Group.  Connect with Barb on or follow her on .

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

  • August 20, 2010

Previous post:

Next post: