Online Community Manager: A New Position in Education

The more I talk to administrators, present to school boards, and persuade educators that we can no longer ignore social-networks the more I am understanding that what schools/districts need is a new position. Now I’m sure in this current state of economy we find ourselves in that this won’t happen for a lot of schools, but I do believe private schools and those who are in highly competitive areas (like here in Bangkok) can not ignore this position any longer. The Position is called an Online Community Manager and it’s not a new position. In fact the Wikipedia article about the position has been around since August 2008, so don’t think what I’m proposing here is a new position….it’s just new to education. At the recent EARCOS Leadership Conference (Conference for International and Overseas Leaders) I had two packed sessions talking about how schools need to start moving into these spaces. I believe the sessions were packed as leaders understand where their community is getting more and more information from about their schools and they are trying to understand how to engage a community in a new social-networked world. I believe there are two reasons this position and schools in general need to have someone managing their online communities: 1) Protect their identity: Private international schools have a large transient population which means there are always new families looking for the right school. More and more people are relying on the Internet and reviews from others who already go to the school. I’m sure the same hold true for most private schools in other parts of the world. Schools need to be in these social-network places so that they can control what prospective families are being told. 2) Engage their community: I think this goes for all schools today. More and more we’re expecting information to find us and want to spend less and less time searching for or going to one more place to get the information we seek. Therefore, schools need to start engaging their school community where they are and stop expecting them to come to where you’re at….that’s a change we’re seeing on the Internet in large part to social-networks such as Facebook where you can “Like” something and have new information show up in your news feed (finally mass adopting of RSS). According to Jeremiah Owyang there are four tenets of the community manager: Community Advocate Brand Evangelist Savvy Communication Skills, Shapes...

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SIM Unlocked iPhone now works on AT&T GoPhone Plans

Update: This same process works for iOS 4.2.1 the latest version for the iPhone Finally….after 3 years of searching for a good plan that short timers that come to the US for business or pleasure can use with their iPhone and take advantage of all it has to offer is here. Now…of course they don’t make it straight forward as in purchase a SIM Card, drop it in the phone and you’re good to go. No, that would be to easy for the good old phone companies of the USA. They need to make it a little more difficult than that, but it’s not too bad. First let’s talk about the Pre-Paid Plan. In October of this year (2010) AT&T launched a new GoPhone service that finally makes sense for short time visitors to use their service while in the US. Their new $2 a day plan for unlimited talk and text is a great deal. Basically as soon as you make or receive a call you are charged $2. But then the rest of the day you can call or text as much as you want for that $2. There is also a Pre-Paid monthly plan for $60 ($2×30)…which is basically the same. But if there is a day you don’t use your phone on the $2 plan then you come out ahead. Here’s the break down in the new Pre-Paid plans as of October 2010 (download full brochure here): Now, for those traveling for a short time in the states like I do this works out great. Not the cheapest in the world…but after crunching some numbers it is actually going to be cheaper than my wife’s Pre-Paid plan with T-Mobile that she pays per-minute on. So Step 1 is to walk into a AT&T store and ask for a GoPhone Plan. You can put money on your account based on how long you plan to stay in the US. Here are the different options: Now I chose to put $100 on my phone and push it out to a year so that I can keep the same phone number year after year…which is what I’ve been looking for. So I have $100 to spend between now and Oct. of 2012….on the $2/day plan that’s basically 50 days in the next year I have to be in the States. Seeing that I spend a minimum of 60...

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One Bad Twitter 'Tweet' Can Cost you 30 Students

Well….maybe not yet, but in the coming year if you are a private or international school you better be monitoring and using these new social tools to engage new students and families. A Bloomberg report came out earlier this week titled: One Bad Twitter ‘Tweet’ Can Cost 30 Customers, Survey Shows. A negative review or comment on the Twitter, Facebook or Youtube Web sites can lose companies as many as 30 customers, according to a survey by Convergys Corp. Now…that’s the business world and if you work in a public school this might not affect you, unless you’re in a district that allows student choice…then it might be an issue. But if you are a private school competing with other private schools this is an article that should have you thinking! A customer review on one of the sites reaches an average audience of 45 people, two-thirds of whom would avoid or completely stop doing business with a company they heard bad things about, Convergys said, citing its own survey. So let’s take an international school in, I don’t know, say Bangkok, Thailand. You start where most do at Google and do a quick search for Bangkok International Schools. Which returns you 10 results. You then click on the link that Google gives you that says “Local business results for International schools near Bangkok, Thailand” and you’re given a different list with addresses on Google Maps (Here’s the first issue…I know there are at least 50 international schools in Bangkok and only 10 show up on this list. Strike 1 for some schools). There are no ratings, no comments, not much to go on here except links to the schools websites (missed opportunity not having comments or a rating on your Google Search results). Of course every school website looks great and can give you a broad overview of what the school is about. But as a parent, or a new student….you want more. You want to know what that schools like. So you head to YouTube, where a quick search for Bangkok International Schools, gives you a list of  5 star rated videos to watch. One video I watch has the following comment: Oh how I hate this school! == They’re just persauding people its not REAL!!!! and it was left a month ago, I click on the user to find out that this is the only comment...

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