Summarizing the School Year Using Video and Social Media

Our project started off very simply, with members of our communications team asking “what would it look like if we put together a film featuring a video clip from every school day in our district?”

From there, the idea for “One Second of Every Day in the Ritenour School District” was born. The concept of the video was simple – compile at least one second of video from something happening in our district for all 180 school days. The end product turned out to be an amazing look at our entire school year in less than three minutes.

We began the process by creating a planning calendar, ensuring that we captured every facet of our district. We also wanted to showcase the beauty of each of the four seasons here in Missouri. The video also features a few scenes following the civil unrest in Ferguson, Mo. in November (Ritenour is located just a few miles away), which was something that we did not include in our plans – but ended up being a powerful part of the piece.

We officially released the video at the end of the last day of school on June 3, 2015. Our first “official” screening was to more than 100 community members during a presentation that night. We also sent the link via email and text message to our staff and families, and we included it on all of our social media channels.

We received an overwhelmingly positive response from our staff, students and community.

Our employees sent us dozens of messages. Many said they felt a deeper connection to the district.

“This video has me in tears. So moving! So beautiful! So touching!” said one of our special education teachers. “I am beginning my 29th year with the Ritenour family and could not be more proud.”

“Thank you! Wow! Your video made me cry. Beautiful!” noted another one of our teachers.

What we discovered through the process was the continued positive connection we could make with our employees, students and community through video.

The video had more than 260 likes, 62 shares and 24 positive comments from our Facebook audience of more than 4,000 people. The post reach was nearly 16,000 people. It has the most favorites and re-tweets ever on our Twitter page and received more views on YouTube than any other video we posted this school year.

Become a Twitter Power User and Ditch the Official Twitter App

If you’re a social media power user, you know that the most efficient way to monitor Twitter is by organizing those you follow into Twitter lists.You might also keep track of custom searches, including hashtags, via a columns-based interface like the Tweetdeck website.

I’ve noticed, however, when I’m on the go and using my phone to monitor the twittersphere, the official Twitter app just doesn’t cut it. Lists and custom searches aren’t easily accessible.

If you want to tweet smarter and have easy access to lists and custom searches, try these apps instead:

For Android:

Falcon Pro 3

Pros: This app is fast, highly customizable, and has one of the most intuitive and clean interfaces I’ve ever seen. Photos and images show up big and bright within each timeline. Swipe in from the left side of the screen for a “notification inbox” that shows you when you have new followers or interactions (retweets, favorites, mentions, etc.). Swipe from the right to edit your custom columns for lists and searches:

This app is so good, that just days ago the developer announced he was hired by Twitter. Let’s hope some of these great features are eventually integrated into the official app for both Android and iPhone.

Cons: None, except that you’ll have to purchase the app for full functionality. Falcon Pro 3 is free to try with demo lists, and a few dollars to use the full version.

For both Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad):


Pros: Like its desktop browser counterpart, the free Hootsuite mobile app gives you access to both Twitter and Facebook, lets you schedule posts, and allows you to set up custom “streams,” including lists and searches:

Cons: One major downside is that tweeted images don’t show up within the streams. The new “retweet with comment” feature isn’t integrated. Also, some features (like embedding images in your tweets) are only available to those who subscribe to Hootsuite Pro.


Pros: This is also one of the very few apps that lets you set up custom columns, which Janetter calls “bookmarks”:

Cons: The new “retweet with comment” feature hasn’t been integrated yet. The ad-free Pro version is $4.99.

What Twitter app do you use? What features are most important and why? Chime in below!

Adapting Videos to Social Media

For almost a decade, video has been an important tool in my team’s communication toolbox. For the last five years, we’ve shared that video on our social media platforms, posting on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Starting with this school year, we’re adapting the way we build our video programming to fit our social media plan.

In addition to sharing the stories we tell about making a difference in students’ lives, we’re creating  “Park Hill Moment” sight-and-sound videos that give our stakeholders a glimpse into the great things happening every day in our classrooms.

We can turn these videos around quickly, which allows us to post them the day of the event, in most cases. This immediacy is important in successful social media.

We started this summer, with a “Park Hill Moment” about teachers getting externship experience in local businesses to bring back to our classrooms.

We also produced a “Park Hill Moment” with the highlights from our all-staff convocation.

These videos are already getting high numbers of views and engagement.

How have you changed your videos to fit the needs of social media?