NORTH RIDGEVILLE — In today’s world of gotta-have-it-now information, it would seem reasonable that any and all forms of technology speeding the seemingly instantaneous spread of information would go to the head of the class.
However, that didn’t turn out to be the case for North Ridgeville Schools, which recently deep-sixed the district’s @NRCSRangers Twitter page after about a year due to its anemic lack of followers.
“Twitter just flopped for us,” according to Amy Rutledge, the district’s spokeswoman. “We were getting very minimal activity with it.”
Rutledge deactivated the Twitter page due to just 60-odd number of people who had followed school district news and information via the account. The district will continue to get the word out via its far more-popular Facebook page.
Rutledge attributed much of the problem with Twitter to its 140-character limit.
“The first couple of posts I was typing, and all of a sudden, you’re done,” Rutledge said of the Twitter limits. “We were limited to a few sentences.”
Which is why Twitter is known for its bastardization of sorts of the English language, with “u” standing in for “you,” “2” for “to,” and “&” for “and.”
“When you’re a school district, you probably don’t want to talk in slang,” Rutledge said in citing another reason behind her decision to pull the plug.
And since the account amassed so few followers, it wasn’t giving district officials the type of feedback they hoped for.
“A lot of parents like Facebook while students are more into Twitter,” Rutledge said.
The district will continue to build its healthy Facebook following which presently numbers more than 1,600 “likes” or steady followers.
“Facebook works really well for us,” Rutledge said.
While the bulk of Facebook users are parents, a “big group” of students also post on the district’s page, Rutledge said.
She plans to increase promotion of the district’s Facebook presence with some as-yet-unannounced activities and contests with a goal of hitting 2,000 regular followers before the end of the school year.
Many of the system’s Facebook posts, especially those announcing school closings, have been seen by 2,400 to more than 4,000 people, Rutledge said.
In Avon Lake, the school district uses both Facebook and Twitter to disperse news. Officials plan to keep using both “even if they only reach a small number of people,” according to Superintendent Bob Scott.
“The kids have really been bailing on Facebook because that’s where all the parents are,” Scott said, noting his 15-year-old daughter dumped her Facebook page.
Increasingly, students are using Twitter and Tumblr.
“Social media will always be coming up with the next best thing, although I’m still trying to figure out Tumblr,” Scott said. “And texting is still big.”
Avon Lake students are allowed to use smartphones, iPads and other devices at school, Scott said.
Scott said the district also still favors the old-fashioned communication method: talking.
“You still want to have people be able to walk in the door and ask questions,” Scott said.
Higgins said via email that Twitter by far is more popular among students while parents and alumni tend to use Facebook.
The district’s Facebook page has close to 5,000 followers.
“Social media is a small but important piece” of the larger network of communications between the schools and students, parents and the community, Higgins said.