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The Trouble with Trolls

I love those little trolls in the DreamWorks movie “Trolls.” I especially love Poppy, who has a great personality and an even greater voice (played by Anna Kendrick, who you might remember from “Pitch Perfect.”)

Today, the first session I attended was about a different kind of troll – the kind that watch your website, Facebook and Twitter feeds looking for opportunities to bash your schools. The session panel had great strategies for battling this kind of “open season” on public schools, but the one that kept being repeated was to “amplify the positive.” By establishing a well-planned and strategic social media presence, school districts simply tip the scales in their favor as consistent and positive advocates for students.

There were many ideas and tons of good advice about managing “mom” or “neighborhood” pages, the importance of branding and establishing response protocols. However, the overarching guidance was acknowledging the challenges associated with a “need to know” social climate through proactive, persistent and positive communication.

It’s pretty common to hear our colleagues talk about the challenges of dealing with social media which is, for many, a primary news source. One presenter said it best, “If it’s on Facebook, it must be true.” This statement underscores the importance of our own messaging and positive correction to inaccurate information. We have all witnessed Facebook rumors coming to life in our schools. It is a challenge of a new generation that requires our constant attention.

In one of my favorite parts of the Trolls movie, Poppy sings a song titled, “Get Back Up Again.” I can’t help but think of the lyrics in the chorus and what great guidance they provide as we navigate social media challenges and opportunities:

I'm not giving up today
There's nothing getting in my way
And if you knock knock me over
I will get back up again, oh
If something goes a little wrong
Well you can go ahead and bring it on
‘Cause if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again

Getting back up again, and jumping right back into social media is critical if we are going to be advocates for our students and public education. A positive, proactive and persistent presence will make getting back up again easier when the trolls try to knock us down.

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