Eleanor Hutchinson page 50 BATOD September Magazine 2013
In the past I’ve written articles for the magazine about the importance of Teachers of the Deaf keeping up with the modern world; in particular the use of social media. Well, we like to practise what we preach, so in the last eighteen months we have been developing the BATOD social media presence. What we’ve done so far
There is a BATOD Facebook page that at the time of writing has 149 “likes” and is growing every week. If you’ve not found us yet, search for British Association of Teachers of the Deaf – unfortunately the acronym was already taken! We have been using it to keep members updated on the conference, the work of NEC and Steering Group, and other relevant information such as changes to examinations and pieces of legislation that affect deaf children. We’ve also used it to connect with other organisations such as the NDCS and the Communication Trust. Teachers of the Deaf from around the world have posted on our page, hoping to make international links. The page has also been used to offer advice about training as a Teacher of the Deaf, so it’s not just our members who are using it.
As the conference approached in March of this year, we were asked if there was a hashtag that attendees could use to connect on Twitter. Although we hadn’t used Twitter previously, we responded to the request and picked #BATOD13. A few members tweeted on the day using the hashtag, and it was interesting to see different people’s ideas and opinions. By using this hashtag it made it easy for people who weren’t attending the conference to see what was going on (and hopefully encourage them to attend next year!)
After discussions at NEC in June, I made a few recommendations regarding where we can take our social media presence from here. We intend to create a BATOD Twitter account, to widen our social media reach. We will use this account to spread the same information as we do on our Facebook page and to interact with related organisations and individuals. Hopefully, this will enable us to publicise our events more widely and encourage more people to come to our conferences and study days. It will also help to spread information about all of the other work that BATOD does, including representing the interests of deaf children and young people at a parliamentary level.
Some of the regional BATOD committees have Facebook groups, so we’re encouraging people to open them up and make them pages, where they can post information relevant to their region, as well as nationally. It has been decided that one member of NEC will take responsibility for social media within BATOD – this person will have joint responsibility for the BATOD main social media pages, and also liaise with regional committee members who are setting up pages. This person will also act in an advisory capacity should any members have any questions regarding social media.
With this foray into social media, we recognised a need for guidelines to assist any committee members who are setting up a regional page. These are currently in draft form, but when they are finalised they will be published on the website. Any regional committees who wish to set up a page can refer to these in order to consider the purpose of the page they are setting up and the best way to use it. The use of guidelines will also ensure that there is consistency across all BATOD social media accounts.
We’d welcome any feedback on how we can use social media to benefit members further, so if you have any ideas please do get in touch. You can leave a message on our Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org