The Harbinger Online

Office Uses Social Media to Communicate and Connect with Students


Tweets coming from the office ranging from MORP reminders to supporting various teams and clubs have been filling up the Twitter feeds of East students. Vines of principal John McKinney and associate principal Jeremy Higgins stealing each others’ tots have become weekly occurrences on the video announcements.

This school year, the East administration has begun using social media outlets such as Twitter and Vine for the first time. The administration’s purpose of using social media, according to McKinney, is to connect and communicate with students through technology.

“Technology is a really important part of what we do at East,” McKinney said. “We would be remiss if we weren’t preparing students to enter college and careers without acknowledging that technology plays a big part in everything that we do, and will continue to play a big part in everything that we do.”

The @SMEOffice Twitter profile was created this past summer. In the past four months it has gained over 500 followers composed of students, parents, alumni and community members from across the East area.

The account has been used for purposes ranging from congratulating the football on winning sub-state to consoling SM West after the passing of two of their students, Houston St. John and Andre Maloney.

McKinney and his three other associate principals chose to use Twitter first because of the large role it plays in students’ lives and its quick nature. He says it has enabled the office to quickly and easily communicate information about events at East with the community.

“Why not just share [our school’s news] with as many people as possible as quickly as possible?” McKinney said.

While McKinney says he first utilizes face-to-face congratulations, he has also been using the @SMEOffice account to reach out to students and recognize them for their individual accomplishments.

Senior Rob Simpson was tweeted about by the office celebrating his perfect ACT score. After being mentioned by the account, Simpson received numerous congratulations for his score.

“I think [the account] is a good way to show the office’s appreciation for students,” Simpson said. “Sometimes you don’t feel that [at other schools], but its very present here at East.”

The administration also created the SMEOffice Vine account at the beginning of the year. This account was created to participate in the video announcements’ weekly Vine contests. They have submitted Vines to several contests including reenacting the Karate Kid in #SMEremake and doing the Harlem Shake with #SMEdance.

“Its just another way of reaching out to [the community] to show when you see a principal it’s not always a bad thing,” McKinney said. “It can be kind of a good thing. Hopefully people have had fun with it.”

Currently the administration does not have an East Facebook page, but have considered the possibility of creating one.

McKinney has personally never used Facebook before but believes it could be a good way to create a central location to communicate information concerning various events that are occurring on the same day, like MORP and sub-state. He says it could give out more in-depth information regarding East events, rather than the quick pieces of information @SMEOffice is currently providing.

No decisions have been made about the page yet, but if it were to be created it would be facilitated by McKinney and his colleagues, like the Twitter profile and the Vine account.

Even if the administration does not decide to create a Facebook page, they still plan to continue using the Twitter and Vine accounts.

“I think that it’s neat we have over 500 followers on SMEOffice, and when you send something out there it’s going to grandmas and grandpas and parents and patrons and other schools and their administrations and students,” McKinney said. “We try to put things out there that show East in a very positive light, albeit sometimes a silly light. I think that really represents our school and our students in a positive way.”

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Sarah Berger

Sarah Berger is a junior. This is her second year on staff and she is the news section editor and a copy editor. Read Full »

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