Student Council Facebook Pages
Today, a high percentage of all information shared via social networks happens on Facebook. Its use has spread well beyond the original group of users and now features multiple types of pages used by corporations, retail, educational, religious, cause-driven groups, etc. Because Facebook is so popular among teens, it stands to reason that it and other social networks would be a preferred media by students to promote their student council, team and club activities and events. In weighing a decision for using or not allowing a student council to set up an “official” Facebook page, advisers and principals should consider the following points:
- Facebook gives student councils a tool to take their messages to the students using the most common student online networking forum.
- There are several types of page structures that should be understood before a decision is made:
- A Facebook page or profile is a personal page set up by an individual.
- A Facebook group page can be set up by anyone with a Facebook account. It has multiple security settings to limit what visitors can post on the page, but has less functionality than profiles or fan pages.
- A Facebook fan page (this is used by NatStuCo) is the most common type of page for an organization, and can be set up by anyone with a Facebook account. It has multiple security settings to allow/prevent posting of comments, photos, videos etc., and users that misuse the page can be individually blocked from posting on it. A moderator has the ability to send blast emails to all fans.
Questions to answer prior to denying/approving a FB page
- Are there school or district policies that allow or prevent school-related pages on sites other than official school/district web pages?
- Who needs to give permission? (In some cases, permissions at multiple levels within the district may be needed-principal, superintendent, school board.)
- Is the group requesting the FB page required to present a proposal or plan for the page?
- If allowed, can/will a link be allowed on the school website?
Questions the council/club needs to answer
- Which type of Facebook page will be set up?
- Who will be the assigned administrator(s)? Facebook allows multiple admins – one of whom should be the faculty adviser.
- What page functions will be active?
- Can fans post messages? Links? Videos? Photos?
- Will the page be more for one-way communication for council/club news, announcements, and event promotions?
- How often will the page be monitored by administrators? (Time on this will likely vary depending on how much students can interact on the page.)
It’s a Reality
- Very high percentages of students are proficient, active Facebook users.
- Anyone can set up a Fan page or Group, having the opportunity to establish parameters, give ethical guidance, and adult oversight can serve as a very positive learning opportunity.
- Many schools block Facebook access so students will most likely be accessing any council/club pages in the mornings or evenings – off campus. Any updates, monitoring would most likely also occur during non-academic hours and away from campus.