School Spotlight: Gould Academy Glog

Glog-school-spotlight-gould-academyOne of the things that I most enjoy about social media is how small it seems to make the world. A prime example is my friendship with Tucker Kimball – the Director of Communications at Gould Academy. Tucker and I connected a few of years ago on social media and have a number of things in common including being contributing bloggers at edSocialMedia, flyfishing, and being fathers to young children.

The really neat, and at the same time, disappointing fact is that I have never meet Tucker in real life.

Enjoy though we have never met I have been of fan of Tucker’s work which is highlighted by the Gould Academy Glog. The Glog offers a glimpse of daily life at Gould through the eyes of students and parents.

I’d like to thank Tucker for answering the School Spotlight questions and I hope you check out the Glog when you get a chance.

1. How long have you had the Glog at Gould Academy?

We started the Glog in September 2007

2. How many people help you manage the Glog?

It’s really sort of self-managed by students. I set them up with usernames, passwords, their caricatures; we then meet and talk about blogging – the do’s and the don’ts – and then they are responsible for posting. I’ll give feedback and show them statistics so they know people are reading but they run with the content.

3. How much time does your group spend managing the Glog?

It’s hard to quantify but it is not a lot of time. Most of my time spent is in late summer when I’m getting it ready for when the students return to school. After that, they make it sing.

4. What tools do you use to help you manage the Glog?

The blog is built into the Gould website which is built on the WordPress platform, so it’s easy to manage.

5. What are your goals in terms of the Glog?

The goal has always been student and faculty created content that is the real deal. (I’m trying to move away from ‘authentic’ & ‘transparent’!) Pull the roof off and let folks see what life is like through the Gloggers’ points of view.

6. Has the Glog helped you achieve your goals?

It has become very clear since the inception of the Glog and subsequent blogs we’ve created thereafter at Gould, that people like the content. The Glog is one of the top visited pages on our website and one of the top entrance pages to the site as well. People like blog content. Since the Glog, we’ve successfully worked to create a content creation culture here. We have over a dozen blogs now representing different programs/areas. It’s really a brand ambassadorship program at the school which is exciting, and we’re now looking at ways of maximizing this for admissions. Here’s my slidedeck on the subject from a recent CASE-NAIS conference that folks might find helpful.

7. What direction or editorial advice have you given to your bloggers?

The first year we started the Glog, the contributors were writing in a style that sounded a little forced – like they were writing for me, or admissions, or development. It was very “Go Gould!” The posts are intrinsically about Gould because the contributors are a part of the fabric. So, the direction has always been don’t focus on Gould necessarily, simply focus on your own experience. More you, less Gould has been the advice.

8. Is there a certain type of blog post that is more successful than another?

People know honesty when they read it. I always think of this post from a couple of years ago. It was an emotional post that dealt with the writer’s unexpected involvement with a tragedy from the school’s past. I think this is the type of post you’ll get if you give students the freedom to write. The comments from faculty, alumni, parents, former heads of school etc. speak for themselves.

9. If you knew then what you know now — what advice can you share for schools just starting a blog?

Find those who want to participate because they are passionate about writing. Don’t try to pick and choose those who ‘fit’ your school’s brand or a particular program. If those things align it’s certainly a bonus. But, look first for those excited about the opportunity. They’ll write consistently.

10. Can you share one ‘secret’ which has helped your Glog to be successful?

Give your brand ambassadors the freedom to write and they’ll rise to the occasion. Here’s another slidedeck that might be helpful for folks starting a similar blog model.

I’d like to thank Tucker and Gould Academy for agreeing to be a School Spotlight and if you have any questions for Tucker please post them in the comments section below.

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  1. Tucker Kimball says

    Thanks for the opportunity, Brendan. The Gloggers do good work! I hope folks find it helpful. Totally agree about the neat disappointment. One of these days we’ll connect in real life.

  2. Ralph Cochran says

    This is GREAT! Thank you we just rolled out a Blog here at Annapolis Christian Academy and I have been working with the school newspaper that is student written to convert into bloggers. This information will be very helpful in that process. THANKS!!