North American Jewish Day School Conference Networking Begins with SOCIAL Networking

by Ken Gordon

So you’re going to the North American Jewish Day School Conference.

What’s your social media strategy? That is: How are you going to use all the great communications tools at your disposal to make the most of your conference networking?

No entirely sure? No worries. We just happen to have a three-step guide to Socializing the Conference. Scroll down and learn:

Step One

You must fill out your Weave The People Profile (the form is here) and email your photo (here). If you’ve already done so: Bravo! If not, you might ask, “Why should I fill out a profile? Why should I take the time to send in a picture?” The answer is simple: Because the Weavers will take all this information and create a very useful – and vastly cool – page that will introduce you to your fellow attendees, their specific professional interests, their challenges, and even their ideal dinner companions. Click here to sample the magic. Once the #NAJDS2013 Weave goes live, in February, at the Conference, it will become your insider’s guidebook, and will instantly boost the value of the experience for you.

The next step in the Socialization Process: You need Facebook and Twitter accounts. Professional accounts. Some people have personal accounts but don’t want to mix up their professional and personal communities. If that’s the case: Create special social accounts for work. Use your school email address ( and maybe give your account a name such as “Shlomo Generic JDS Strosberg,” and make Friends with and Follow only professional connections.

Once you’ve been Woven, Facebooked, and Twittered:

  1. Like the Day School Conference’s Facebook and Twitter (@najdsconf) pages.
  2. Check in regularly and engage. These two social media environments are filled every day with content and conversation that follows the Conference theme: Learning to Lead – Leading to Learn. You’ll find videos of Conference presenters, discussions and articles about leadership issues, polls, even the occasional humorous-caption contest. When on the Facebook page, please Like or Comment as often as possible. Do so, and the #NAJDS2013 community will know you, your interests, educational beliefs, and sense of humor (or lack thereof!). A lively social media presence will make it simple for you to connect with the presenters and/or attendees you’ll want to connect with in D.C. Still not sure about getting socializing your professional development? Here are “10 Great Reasons to Hurl Yourself into the Big Social Media Conversation.”
  3. Use the hashtag. Please include type in #NAJDS2013 whenever you’re on Twitter (a) talking about the Conference; (b) talking to a fellow attendee or presenter; or (c) talking about a topic of relevance to the Conference (i.e., anything concerning leadership or, say, a Conference speaker, such as keynoter Tony Wagner). If you have no clue – none whatsoever – what the word “hashtag” means, click here.

Step Two

When you arrive at the Conference, the full Weave will finally be revealed. We’ll discuss how to use it below. Facebook is too complicated for the fast-paced, session-filled, network-fest that is the Day School Conference. So get tweeting!

  1. Find your people. By clicking through the Weave, you’ll be able to see who has common interests, struggles, and successes. Also: the Weave will give you everyone’s email addresses. If you’d like to meet a Conference person, or to learn more about this person or conduct a dialogue with him or her – the Weave will make it easy. A connection is just a click away.
  2. Tweet speakers. You’ll hear some amazing things from people like Deborah Frieze. Use Twitter to broadcast her brilliance, 140-characters at a clip.
  3. Post pictures. You can, by using an app such as Twitpic or Instagram, easily shoot and Tweet #NAJDS2013 photos.
  4. Raise questions. Great Twitter users will use the social media tool to ask, and answer, questions during a session.
  5. Build your virtual Rolodex. Hi, what’s your name and Twitter handle?” This doesn’t have to be your opening line… but if you hit it off with an attendee, you should be sure to swap social media information. It can be the start of some important long-term beneficial relationships.

Step Three

  1. Follow up. When you return home, make it a point to use all the social contact info you’ve picked up along the way. You should increase your Followers and Friends by a considerable amount.
  2. Blog and Comment. A good social citizen – particularly one who wants to impress, say, her Head of School or Board Chair – will reflect upon, and then blog about, what was learned at the conference. You will then share this with your social network, including your new #NAJDS2013 friends, and ask them to respond, in the Comments section, to your writing. Similarly, you’ll Comment on other people’s Conference posts.
  3. Join up. The Conference’s host orgs boast several Communities of Practice. Consider, for instance, PEJE’s offerings and YU’s. Look around, join the few that make sense for you, and participate in focused discussions that relate most directly to your professional leadership issues.

Ken Gordon is the Social Media Manager of PEJE.

cross-posted with PEJE blog