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West Genesee superintendent uses Twitter to break snow day news

Brown uses Twitter to keep in touch with the community — he says he’s a more open and accessible superintendent because of his use of social media.

Brown uses Twitter to keep in touch with the community — he says he’s a more open and accessible superintendent because of his use of social media. Photo by Amanda Seef.

— “They can see what I’m seeing in my eyes every day in West Genesee,” Brown said.

Brown tweets about items of interest — items on his daily agenda, decisions within the district and photos of what the students are doing in classes as he visits.

“In any school community, you want to be as transparent as possible,” Brown said. “If people want to get close to a decision, before Twitter, you had to hunt a superintendent down. Twitter makes it so we’re not ramming it down your throat, people who want that information are pleased with how it gets out.”

By the end of Brown’s one-year Twitter experiment, he saw the connection between social media and students, parents and residents of the district. He tweets from his iPhone or the web platform at his desk — he recently upgraded to the iPhone for enhanced video and photos.

“The total time I spend writing a blog, on Facebook or on Twitter is under an hour each week,” he said. “I would have spent that much time, or more, answering messages. I don’t see it as an extra thing, it’s an integral part of our communication plan.”

Students are also sending Brown messages on Twitter asking questions about the district.

“They can get ahold of me,” Brown said. “It helps them have an ownership of their school and an ownership of what’s happening [at West Genesee.]”

Students are also seeing a piece of the superintendent’s personality in each post, a refreshing angle, Brown said.

“I try to express a little bit of my personality and show I’m an actual human-being when I write my blog posts,” Brown said. “I think it helps me to come across as a real person, I think people are pleased that they know their leader is so involved.”

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