Virtual Word of Mouth

School groups use Facebook to broadcast news, events

By Morgan Kidd | Pembroke Pines Charter High School

The bell rings and 1st period’s gossip has filled the hallways. Everyone pulls out their phones and posts the news on their Facebook statuses.

Nothing seems more important.

Big banners, colorful flyers, and daily announcements attempt to catch the attention of the preoccupied students making an effort to remind them of upcoming meetings and events going on throughout the schools clubs and organizations.

“No matter how many announcements you put on the morning announcements and how many banners you make, there are always the kids who forgot or who did not pay attention,” said Sandra Sawan, president of the Student Government Association at Everglades High School.

A user of Facebook has the ability to create a page for a non-profit organization and invite members who are exclusive to the club. The page administrator, usually the president or secretary of the club, then posts reminders on the wall of the club page. They create events and reminders that are seen by all the members who are part of the Facebook club page.

“Maybe sometimes I run out of time at class meetings or there are things I left out, so using Facebook as a reminder to meetings and other events has helped a lot and it’s great because it’s easy access,” said Cindy Cuadra, president of the senior class at Felix Varela Senior High School.

Sawan said Facebook offers the opportunity to reach students even before the school year begins.

“We use Facebook to let people know about our [meetings] a lot actually. Especially right now over the summer and during homecoming week we use it a lot to remind everyone about the spirit week dress up days and all the homecoming activities,” she said.

Facebook, then, has become the virtual word of mouth for many school organizations.

“We have to adapt to what our generation is using today… The more emphasis we put on the information, the more people we will attract and what better way to do that than through the main source of communication teenagers are using today,” Sawan said.

In the off-hours of no connection between officers and club members, it’s only natural for many topics discussed in a daily club meeting to be put off or even forgotten by members. Even the need to feel reconnected with the club as a whole could be revived with the use of this online connection.

“They can reach me if they have any questions instead of waiting until the next day to find me in school,” Cuadra said. “They have the freedom to post anything on the pages’ wall so it’s a good tool.”

Students also feel a better connection with the club or organization they are a part of once they have a Facebook presence.

“Facebook basically helps bring the class together in a way. I use it as a tool to help engage as many students as possible,” said Lauren Perez, president of the senior class at Everglades High School.

Students who would normally bypass flyers on walls in a hallway find themselves more enticed once invited on Facebook.

“People check their Facebook frequently and we [send] everyone in our class a message and invitation to the meetings,” said Kameron Woodall, vice president of the class of 2012 at Everglades High. “We had many more people attend the meetings and because of that more people were involved in school activities.”

The use of Facebook to help promote clubs is not limited to high school students. College organizations use it to reach out to their members. Students like Shauna Martin, president of the Black Student Union at the Illinois Institute of Technology, see it as useful.

“I find that people respond faster/better to Facebook events and reminders because they use it all the time,” Martin said.

Even so, some worry about the over-dependency on Facebook.

“Some people don’t check emails anymore,” Martin said. “They just wait for information to pop up on Facebook.”

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