How to get started with Twitter

Create your own professional learning and support network

Twitter is a great tool for school business managers and leaders. It provides a platform to communicate, network and collaborate with school business professionals from all over the world. Below I have set out why you should use Twitter, how to get started, who to follow and some tips on functionality.

Why should you use Twitter?

~ Share your ideas and views; and discuss them with other school business managers/leaders

~ You can ask for support, by tweeting someone directly or publishing an open tweet

~ To learn new things

~ To stay up to date with the latest education sector stories and information; and to debate whether they are going help or hinder

~ Create your own professional learning and support network

~ To market your school or multi academy trust through your professional profile

~ Use it as a research tool, for example you can set up polls

Getting started

I have set up two accounts, one that’s my professional account (@ShropshireSBM) and a separate one for me personally. I like to keep the two separate, but there are lots of people that opt to have one account.

It is important to check your security settings before you start tweeting and be mindful of what you are posting. I have a disclosure on my profile bio that says ‘views expressed are my own’. You should check your employers social media policy.

Remember that you can ‘Mute’, ‘Block’ and ‘Report’ Twitter accounts.

If you want to use the Direct Message function, you need to follow the account and they need to follow you back.

Adding a bio with information about you and what you are interested in helps other Twitter users to decide whether to follow you back.

Who to follow

There are thousands of useful accounts to follow, here are a few school business management related accounts to start with:

@NASBM_news is the official account for The National Association of School Business Management

@miconm is an Academy Finance Director and Fellow of the NASBM

@MidlandsSBM is a Deputy Headteacher/Business Manager, Fellow of the NASBM and Trustee, Chair of the SBM Practitioner Standards Panel and a consultant

@valerieandrew is an Educational Business Leadership Specialist for the ASCL

@sbmlhs is a Business Manager, Consultant and a Fellow of the NASBM

@NickyGNickster is a Business Manager, represents the interests of SBMs and the profession through NAHT

@dawnboyes is a School Business Director and a NASBM Associate Practitioner, who is doing great work to develop the profession

Then there are useful news and information accounts:

@educationgovuk official account for the Department for Education

@TES news on schools, pedagogy and education policy

@SchoolsWeek news on schools and education policy in England

@EdExec Education Executive is a monthly magazine for school business managers

@FundEd4Schools FundEd is useful if you are interested in income generation

There are many more interesting and useful accounts to follow. You can see who I follow through my account @ShropshireSBM via the ‘Following’ list.

Twitter Chats

There are regular scheduled discussion groups that you can follow and take part in; #SLTchat hosted by @SLTchat on Sundays at 8:00pm to 8:30pm, is the main one that I follow.

Twitter uses what are called hashtags (using the # icon in front of the word(s) with no gaps), to tag posts that are of a similar theme. There a lots of hashtags used by education based users of Twitter, here are a few to get you started:

Senior Leadership Team: #SLT #SLTchat

School Business Manager/Leader: #SBM #SBL

Wellbeing themed tweets: #Teacher5aday #Teacher5adaySlowChat #WellbeingWednesday

Promoting diversity in education and leadership: #BAMEed #womened

And a topical one at the moment…

National Funding Formula: #NFF

You will also find that Conferences often decide on a hashtag, which is a great way to see what the main topics and discussions are from an event, even when you can’t attend.

Twitter Lists

Utilise Twitter lists to group similar types of accounts, for example you could have separate lists for the areas that you cover in your role as a school business leader:

  • Finance
  • HR
  • CPD
  • Marketing and PR
  • Health & Safety
  • ICT
  • Facilities
  • Local Community Network
  • Local Schools & Colleges

You can tailor and organise these lists so that you see tweets from these specific areas, rather than always reading through the main ‘Home’ screen, which can become very busy depending on the number of accounts that you decide to follow. Twitter lists can be set to private if you don’t want anyone else to see them, or you can have the set to public and let others subscribe to them.

I hope you found this blog post useful and if you find an account that other school business managers/leaders would find interesting then please tweet me.

Happy Tweeting!

#BeTheChange

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