Friday, July 6, 2012

Counselor Tech Dilemia: Which should I do, Blog, Website, Wiki, Twitter, Facebook?

Since the summer's here and in full swing, many of us school counselors sit back, relax and think of things to do and improve and try for the next school year.  I've gotten quite a few questions asking about which social media tools to use to start for counselor programs: a blog, creating a website, getting on Twitter, etc.  Let me begin by saying that there's a difference in each type of social media and it totally depends on what works best for you (I know that's NOT the answer you were looking for).  Here's my short version of each type of social media other school counselors use, hopefully it will help you figure out which one(s) will work best for you.

-Blogging:  Having a counselor blog is like having a sort of online diary (if that makes sense).  For a blog you'll need to type a post (diary entry) pretty regularly.  For me, my blog started out as a blog for parents then I changed my format to be geared towards other school counselors.  I'm hooked and LOVE blogging, LOVE connecting with other school counselors & LOVE hearing from you!  I use Blogger as my blog site of choice but many other people use Word Press.  There are also other blog sites to choose from, just Google blogging websites and you'll get a buffet of choices. 
Pros: very easy to set up, you can write about what you want.
Cons: Need to post on your blog regularly.

-Creating a counselor website:  A website will require a lot of time towards the initial part of creating it, but once it's done you only have to update it as needed.  I'll be honest, I worked on my jyjcounselor website all last summer but once it was completed throughout the school year I had to update it as needed (very quick updates like upcoming events, parent reminders, etc).  I used Weebly to create my website.  There's a free version and a pro version ($40).  I opted to go for the paid version after a full year of the free version (which is fine) but I wanted the added features that were included in the paid version.
Pros:  Once created very easy to update
Cons: May take a while to create and set up your web page (but it's very do-able)

-Twitter:  Twitter is an easy way to post news, events, ideas in 140 characters or less.  It takes no time to create an account.  It's great to follow #schoolcounseling news and ideas.  I would also suggest to use Tweetdeck to read your tweets (it's much easier in to understand in tweetdeck and you can schedule your tweets days or months in advance).  Twitter is a great way to get info out to parents and students that have cell phones.  There's an awesome tweet to text feature that allows people to receive your tweets as text messages.  Click here to see a previous post about this great feature.  I'm actually going to do a parent training on this feature at our meet the teacher event (my school will be actively using Twitter this year). Twitter is also another tool to connect with counselors and get resources.  Each month there is a #scchat (school counselor chat) where we talk about various counselor topics.  Be sure to use the tag #scchat in your tweet so that you can easily follow along with us.  Other helpful school counseling tags are #edtech, #asca12 or #edchat. 
Pros: Short messages to your followers, tweet to text feature, wealth of information can be found on Twitter.
Cons: Can be overwhelming with many tweets (use Tweetdeck to make this easier).

-Creating a Counselor Facebook Fan Page: If you're already on Facebook, you can make a fan page and just post counselor info on it.  I'm very new to this concept so I'm can't honestly give my pro's and cons yet (I just created my jyjcounselor fan page & will keep you posted).

There are so many ways to connect with other counselors, parents and students.  Isn't technology just great?  What tech tool(s) are you working on using or are already using in your school counseling program? Pin It

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