140 Characters + Me: Leveraging Twitter for Advocacy

by Kara Lehnhardt

February 17, 2015

Editor’s Note: Part of your job as an early childhood leader is to spark conversations and raise awareness about the importance of early care and education. But for many of us, the word “advocacy” seems intimidating and hard to manage. Throughout the next several weeks the McCormick Center will publish blog posts that provide some tips for diving in and getting started.

Have you ever had an “ah-ha” moment shook you out of your socks a bit and shifted that way you were thinking about something? Below I share one of mine related to advocacy and its link to technology.

Are you interested in diving more into the topic of early childhood advocacy?  Don’t miss this year’s Leadership Connections preconference session, Changing the World for Children: Six Steps to Advocacy, on May 13 presented by Ken Jaffe.

What are your thoughts? How have you utilized social media to advocate for the value of early childhood education?

Kara Lehnhardt is Director of Technology Initiatives at the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership. She oversees the McCormick Center’s online professional development, technology training, web, and marketing efforts. She holds a BA in organizational communication and MBA.  Follow Kara on Twitter: @KaraLehnhardt.

8 Responses to “140 Characters + Me: Leveraging Twitter for Advocacy”

  1. Jan Tylin says:

    We use facebook but have not tried twitter or a blog. A little worried about how to do and the amount of time needed to keep it fresh.

  2. Yes, a web/blog site, Twitter, and Facebook (in process of changing page name) to talk openly, honestly, transparently with parents and others interested in child care and preschool.

  3. Kara Lehnhardt says:

    Thanks for sparking the conversation, Donna and Jan! Donna, you’re so right that honesty and transparency is key to your conversations with parents, whether on or off-line. I hear you, Jan; finding the resources is the hardest part. We’ve heard from a number of programs who have been successful in getting Twitter and/or a blog up and going. One thing they often share is to keep in mind is that you don’t have to create all new content yourself. Sharing others’ resources that would be of interest or support to parents can be a really effective way to keep them engaged and cut down on the time factor. Also, I encourage you to utilize your human resources –How might other staff, parents, or board members help with the effort? Keep the comments flowing. How else might you put systems in place that could allow you to engage with stakeholders via Twitter or other social media tools?

  4. Follow me on Twitter @DiscoverECD
    Social media is an invaluable resource for spreading the word about the value of quality early childhood education and care…my biggest challenge is finding the time to update. But it is also one of my goals!

  5. Betsy Carlin says:

    I have found that through twitter I have access to a lot of great articles and information from other ECE minded Tweeters that I might not have seen otherwise. Often I simply retweet the information to increase the audience (not that I have a ton of followers) so I do not actually come up with new content but I am increasing visibility.

    Thank you for this video blog. I appreciated the information. Last year, I believe the McCormick Center hosted an online PD session on using Twitter. The time did not work for me so I missed it. I would love if this blog could go a step further to explain hashtag use and other ways to enhance Twitter use.

  6. giovanni says:

    Hi Betsy,
    Last year we did host a webinar regarding Twitter. We have a recording of the Twitter 4 Professional Development and #Conferences webinar available on our website. http://mccormickcenter.nl.edu/twitter-4-professional-development-conferences/
    I hope this helps answer some of your questions.

  7. Kara Lehnhardt says:

    Hi, Betsy. You’re right! There is power in “retweeting” out others’ resources to boost awareness and readership, and that plays well into our advocacy conversation.
    I’d encourage you to take a look at the webinar Gio posted for some great “how-tos” on hashtags and the basics. Also, be sure to keep an eye out on the McCormick Center site as we anticipate more social media professional development opportunities in the future. We’d love to see you there!