Communicating with the Twitter Generation of Parents

We are living in times where the average length of written communication is getting progressively shorter… (LOL, TTYL, OMG….! ) while the average length and format of school communications has remained relatively unchanged over the years. What has changed is the attention span of parents, their ability to retain information and their preferences for clear, concise and actionable communication, devoid of fluff, color and designs (Twitter has 140 characters and no color, yet it has over a billion users).

Today’s parents are faced with a constant barrage of information overload. As a result, schools continue to struggle to find the optimum balance and medium to engage the parents. On one hand, they are reluctant to change their old ways of doing things (paper, paper, more paper, beautiful websites, and 2-5 pages long newsletters which the parents hardly read) and yet are requiring today’s mobile parent to stay engaged with their school at all costs. Parents often take the “Be Brief-Be Gone” approach with school communications (anything more than a few sentences, and they tune out).

Did you know that a school with 50-100 children sends out anywhere between 2,000-5,000 sheets of paper to the parents every year, including incident reports, conferences, permission slips, forms, calendars, newsletters etc.? Isn’t it about time that schools start looking at communications a little differently to keep the parents engaged and save the trees?