September 16, 2010 / Staff Management

Facebook makes yearbook connections

Written by Jim Jordan

Facebook continues to be a fun way to see what all your friends and colleagues are doing and to stay in touch with former students and classmates, but it also has become an integral part of my teaching and producing a yearbook.

I got started at a 2007 summer workshop when one of the students started a page for the editor-in-chief class. Soon I was making group pages for every workshop group I taught. I used it to encourage the students as they del-campo-facebookworked on their books throughout the year, and we celebrated together when their books delivered. I am still in touch with some of those students.

Over the past few years, we have developed new ways to use this social networking phenomenon to encourage my staffs, both past and present, develop a wider audience for their work, and gather information to produce the book throughout the year.

Start a Group page to recognize current and past staffs.

With my current and former staffers, I first used Facebook to create a Group page called “Decamhian-Former Editors and Staff 1982-present.” I sent out a call to anyone on Facebook who had ever been on staff and asked them to report when they were on staff and what they were doing. We have about 275 members, including several from my first staff in 1982-83.

I have members in this group from each of the 28 books I have advised. What a joy to find out the amazing things they have done and are doing with their lives and how the yearbook experience influenced their success. In this format, you can ask questions, start discussions and stay in contact with many former staffers. This page is set up as a closed group, for us who have experienced the struggles and joys of yearbook.

Start a Fan page.

Fan pages are a great way to let the Facebook world know what your students are doing and to promote your books both past and future. In 2009, we created one called “Decamhian-Yearbook of Del Campo High School.”

I began to post photo galleries that at least included the cover of every yearbook since I became adviser in 1982. I also was able to post the theme, editorial staff and number of pages in that specific book. Almost as soon as it went up, several members of the staff and that class responded to the book and what they remembered about it.

I also post news about the accomplishments of our previous books. When the 2009 Decamhian received an NSPA Pacemaker Award at the JEA/NSPA Spring Scholastic Journalism convention in Portland, Ore., the 2009 staff knew instantly what their book had accomplished. A flurry of congratulations went out among the editors.

As soon as the book is delivered, I also post spreads from the new book to create buzz among both the school and journalism communities for the new volume.

Start a page for your current staff.

We start a new page every year for the current staff, and I use it to communicate directly with them. Since many students no longer use email as a major method of communication, Facebook is a great tool to announce information about summer camp, workdays and conventions.

This brings up the issue of school policies about teachers friending current students, or whether you feel comfortable doing it if it is allowed. I have made the decision to friend current students, but only if it is requested by them.

Start a page to interface with your school community.

Just this summer, one of my new editors-in-chief created a page called “Get Your Story in Del Campo’s 2011 yearbook.” We are trying to find stories to cover before they happen, especially for summer and profile coverage. Within the first few days we had several new ideas, including someone who is going to be working on a movie set and another who is interning with a local theatre production company.

You could also use a site like this to get feedback on what the students thought about last year’s book or what they might like to see in next year’s book. The possibilities are endless.

Jim Jordan
Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan is a Special Consultant for Walsworth Yearbooks and the host of the Yearbook Chat with Jim podcast. He is former yearbook adviser at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, California. Jim was the 1996 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year, and shares his expertise with students and advisers at workshops and conventions across the country. Jim is the lead mentor for Walsworth's Adviser Mentor Program.