Say Yes to a School Instagram

Gwyneth Jones


Note: This post was written by Gwyneth Jones, for her blog, The Daring Librarian. Gwyneth left a career in advertising, public relations, and marketing to pursue a career in technology education. In addition to writing her award-winning blog, Gwyneth uses her tech-savvy to spread literacy in her Maryland middle school’s library.

Gwyneth Jones

I was recently inspired to create a professional Instagram account for our school’s Library Media Center. Here’s why you should consider it, too:

“Go where your customers are”

Here’s a quick look at the stats on Instagram:

  • 400 million monthly active users
  • 28% of all internet users
  • 61% of 2015 high school graduates use Instagram daily
  • 33% of US teens consider Instagram their favorite social network

Our kiddos really are not much on Twitter (Shocking. I know, right?), and while they have Facebook accounts, they don’t “live” there. But, almost every kid I’ve talked to lately is big into Instagram and Vine.

Creating a professional Instagram account ensures that whenever cool things are going on at school, I can handily snap and share them with our kiddos, parents, our community, and the world. Most teachers have their cell phones with them anyway, so why not get together to make it a powerful sharing tool?

@hcpss_mhms Mrs Cullison w/ the 7thGr #EdgarAllanPoe Haunted Smart House partially sponsored by @AmazonEcho #echoholidays

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on Oct 28, 2015 at 8:54am PDT

You can even make your Instagram account a little more interesting by adding video. Take videos on your phone like the one below, or use Animoto to create quick professional-looking videos.

Our @hcpss_mhms Coloring corner is crazy awesome!

A video posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on Dec 3, 2015 at 12:30pm PST

What to post

Whether it’s History Day, a science experiment, a library media lesson, or the school play, students love to see pics of themselves actively involved, so look for events or lessons that are visual and can be easily shared.

8th grade kiddos making during recess! #makerspace #Lego @hcpss_mhms @hocoschools #COOL!

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on Sep 15, 2015 at 10:22am PDT

And like Vine, these Instagram forges a creative bridge with our students. When sharing, I also make sure to post the pics to my Flickr and Twitter accounts. My principal often re-tweets these photos to his followers.

Creating a school hashtag

Consider creating a school hashtag that you use for all pics taken at school, on field trips, performances, sporting events, or competitions, to bring everyone together.

Pro tip: Search Twitter and Instagram first before you adopt a hashtag; you don’t want to use one that’s already taken or is used to discuss or share things that are NFSS (Not for school safe)!

We’re going to try #MHMSMD because just plain #MHMS had a lot of other questionable results. See the results of my search below:

Test driving a hashtag

Use tools like Instagram to model a positive use of social media, create a cool digital footprint, and to become a professional education photojournalist. If you do, you’ll find you’re making connections with students, parents, your community, and the world! Not too shabby, huh?

Gwyneth A. Jones, a.k.a. The Daring Librarian, is a blogger, a Tweeter, an international Ed-Tech speaker, creator of content, a citizen of advocacy, and a resident of social media. In recognition of being a change agent in her field, Gwyneth was named an Innovator and a Mover and Shaker by Library Journal Magazine in 2011, a Gale/Cengage New Leader 2010, and the Best of the Best and a Visionary Leader by Teacher Librarian Magazine in 2012. Her work and writings have been featured in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Huffington Post.