The change in ownership of Twitter, and the subsequent mass exodus of employees, is raising concerns for many Twitter users about security risks, content moderation, and others. Schools and districts are no exception, leaving Superintendents and school communications officials to ask whether or not to disable their Twitter accounts.
K-12 organizations must weigh the pros and cons of leaving Twitter altogether. Some colleagues have told me they’ve already made the decision to exit, and they are relieved to have one less account to manage. Others are taking a “wait and see” stance, keeping an eye on how the situation evolves in the coming weeks.
One of the key questions to ask is what (if anything) would a district lose by removing Twitter from its social media menu? Are there individuals and organizations that follow you only on Twitter, who may or may not migrate to another platform? For example, while many parents and staff may be likely to be on Facebook or Instagram, reporters and other media contacts may rely more on Twitter for story leads.
If you decide to leave Twitter…
If you decide to disable your district’s Twitter account, there are a few important steps you should take:
- Determine whether you are going to disable only the district’s main Twitter account, or if the decision also will apply to other Twitter accounts in the district – e.g. individual schools, departments, clubs, and teams. What about teachers who use Twitter in the classroom? If any of the proposed shifts are considered changes in district policy related to social media, the School Board should be involved.
- Consult with your legal advisor and technology department about the requirements for archiving your Twitter history before any account is disabled, to avoid violating public records laws.
- Post a Tweet stating that the account is going to be disabled. You may want to specify whether this change affects only the district account, or other accounts, too (see #1 above). In the Tweet, encourage your followers to continue engaging with you on other social media platforms, and include shortened links to each of your other accounts. Leave that Tweet up for at least a week or so before disabling the account.
- Notify families and staff about the change through other district communications, such as your e-news, again providing links to your other social media accounts.
- Remove the Twitter icon/link from your website, e-news templates, marketing materials, and any other places the account is promoted.
- If your school or district currently uses Twitter exclusively for some forms of online engagement – for example, periodic Twitter Chats – consider finding alternate platforms for those activities, and notify families and staff about your plans to shift those activities to a new platform.