Research Demonstrates that Online Photos and Videos are Social Currency

Do you post photos you’ve taken on Instagram? Videos you’ve created on YouTube? Then you are a creator.

Do you use Pinterest or Facebook to find and repost photos and videos someone else created? Then you are a curator.

These are terms for online activities coined by researchers Lee Rainie, Joanna Brenner and Kristen Purcell in their study for the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Their research, Photos and Videos as Social Currency Online, shows that 46 percent of adults on the internet are creators, posting their own photos and videos online. And 41 percent are curators, using sites like Pinterest to share other people’s photos and videos.

“Overall, 56 percent of internet users do at least one of these creating or curating activities, and 32 percent of internet users do both creating and curating activities,” they said.

It’s when this study starts breaking down the demographics that it really becomes useful to school PR professionals:

  • Almost a fifth of women online (19 percent) use Pinterest to curate photos, videos and links to other online content. Maybe it’s time to use some of Shane Haggerty’s ideas from his “Five Ways Your School District Can Use Pinterest” post to reach your district’s moms.
  • Instagram users are mostly young adults, with 27 percent of all internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 using the mobile photo sharing service. If you have a lot of young parents, perhaps you could start an account and a hashtag for your school district. If you don’t, Instagram might not be worth your time.

Convocation: the Next Generation

Convocation was a long-standing tradition in our district. It was the one opportunity each year to gather our entire team for an inspirational start to the new school year. From the staff choir to the guest speaker to the video, the event was motivational and unifying.

For the past three years, we cancelled convocation because the economic downturn resulted in lost staff workdays. While our superintendent made the rounds of September staff meetings, the moment of district unity was lost.

This year we created a workable compromise: a virtual convocation! With planning and some expert technical help, our team pulled off a live-streaming webcast that we simultaneously broadcasted to more than 30 schools and work sites.

We broadcasted it on our cable access television channel and straight to the computer of any employees who were unable to leave their desks.

What did it take? A massive server. An on-location production company ($1,400). And a test run the night before to troubleshoot issues like radio interference.

Our convocation had a studio audience of 75 employees. It included a “pre-game” slide show of highlights from each school and department. We had brief presentations from the school board chair, association leaders and our new interim superintendent. And of course, the video.

In just one hour, we accomplished what used to take half a day, giving teachers a gift of planning and staff development time.

Was it the same as a packed high school gym? Not quite. But for that moment in time, we were all together, remembering why we work in education. Employees felt moved. Energized. Appreciated. Mission accomplished.