Last year brought us major advancements in generative AI, a new major social media platform, and a heightened focus on digital citizenship and empowering student voice. The year ahead will undoubtedly take these themes to new levels, challenging school communications and PR professionals, students, and administrators to maximize social media across platforms. Here’s a look at predictions for school social media in the year ahead, plus some insights for putting them into practice.
Narratives connect people, and schools have great stories to tell! In 2024, expect to see an increase in storytelling on school social media, focusing on the unique experiences students and educators have in the classroom, between classes, as part of clubs and activities, in athletics, and in extracurriculars. These stories aren’t just about informing your school community about happenings and deadlines; they actually humanize the experiences students have as they learn, grow, and engage. This might include stories about student teams attending workshops, stories about students in media classes launching successful school fundraisers, or highlights of what happens backstage at student-led theater productions. Storytelling stops the scroll and provides a more comprehensive, engaging, and emotionally resonant picture of school life.
Crandall IDS (which sits in a bedroom community of about 5,000 people about 40 minutes southeast of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex) has taken a more strategic approach to shining light on what’s happening in its schools, using Class Intercom to collect, curate, and share stories.
Diversity strengthens school communities, and social media is an excellent platform for showcasing it. This year, anticipate a more significant push for content that reflects diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Consider that there are tons of ways to highlight different voices. Consider featuring a specific student or educator with a unique background (someone who has overcome a challenge or who has a unique interest or passion). Conduct interviews that share first-hand quotes from different people in your school community. Or, take things a step further by empowering student subjects to find their own voice and tell the stories through your school’s social media channels from their own point of view.
Student voice continues to evolve into an emerging core value for schools and districts, especially as user-generated content and social media channels become more and more prevalent. The year ahead will see a rise in schools empowering student voices by shepherding storytelling and perspective-taking on social media. This means more student-led initiatives, student coverage of school events, and opportunities for students to share their thoughts and ideas on how schools can more authentically tell their stories. Empowering student voice leads to a more engaged and invested student body, in addition to providing more authentic (and more compelling!) content.
More Student Involvement
So, what does it look like in practice to empower student voice and how will this trend impact school social media? Hands-on involvement is crucial, and on the rise. Creating content for school social media channels is a huge learning opportunity for students. These skills are important for disciplines like media and communication, but they also apply to broader career interests like business, entrepreneurship, fundraising and nonprofit work, activism, and broader idea sharing. By involving students, schools foster ownership and pride while providing practical, real-world experience and tangible skill building. These skills can include: copywriting, photography, video editing, interviewing, public speaking, editing, marketing, design, and a range of others.
Kearney High School’s social media content includes contributions from students, who take on social media internships as part of a new and evolving program powered by Class Intercom that helps them build skills and experience in addition to generating great content for the school itself.
Classes, Clubs & Internships
Of course, the skill building that happens when students get involved in social media falls within a range of coursework: English, journalism, yearbook, creative writing, multimedia, design, photography, business, marketing, and others. Indeed, we’ll likely see more classes, clubs, and internship opportunities focused on social media and digital content creation as schools recognize the value of practical, hands-on experience in digital media and digital citizenship. There are a number of ways to structure these types of programs based on what falls within your district’s parameters and needs.
More Visual Content
Visuals capture attention and tell stories quickly and effectively. Expect to see a surge in high-quality, creative visual content that showcases school events, student work, and daily life in a vibrant, engaging manner–and expect it to be captured and curated from unique perspectives. This might include parents, who capture great moments from the sidelines of sporting events. It might also include student interns with press passes to major school events and fundraisers, or educators showcasing the day-to-day learning happening in their classrooms.
A Focus on Digital Citizenship
As social media becomes more ingrained in school communication strategies (and, of course, in the daily lives of students and families), there will continue to be a heightened focus on digital citizenship. Schools play an important role in teaching students how to use social media responsibly, ethically, and effectively. This includes understanding the impact of digital footprints, respecting others online, and using digital platforms to foster positive change.
Evolving Beyond Trends
As these trends take shape, it’s clear student involvement is a powerful strategy for creating authentic, engaging, and relatable social media content and technology that makes it possible is more important than ever. Class Intercom is purpose-built to do exactly that, providing schools and school districts with a social media management platform that allows for unlimited users (including student-level access permissions) and plenty of oversight from educators, administrators, and even district communications and PR teams.
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