When I started using Facebook (FB) with my work with the Wolves Athletics Club, I was thinking that it would be a great tool for disseminating information. Rather than firing e-mails around and relying on voice calls, the FB group would be hub where people could go to for finding out what is going on. And unlike e-mail or the Web, the key demographic (teens and young adults) might actually pay attention to this channel since they tended to visit FB a number of times daily.
As time went on, I found that the FB group functioned well as an information hub, but it had many, many more applications beyond broadcast communication. Some of the unexpected applications included:
– Community building tool – Athletes developed a stronger sense of “team” through day-to-day interaction and photo/video sharing
– Teaching and learning tool – I am constantly linking good articles about running, training, nutrition, etc. that athletes can choose to read
– One to one tool – If I need to get a hold of an athlete quickly and/or privately, the FB messaging function works brilliantly.
The brilliance of FB is that you can do all of these functions (and more) on one platform. And like I mentioned earlier, FB is a channel that my primary demographic tends to pay attention to. It truly is a coaching tool in addition to being a communications tool.
It’s too bad that FB has a cyber-bullying stigma associated with it in primary and secondary education. With active participation, a teacher could use FB to do many of the same things we do as a track club in a school setting.