Lit Fuse sounds off: D214 twitter account handled unprofessionally

By Peter Fusilero
Sports Editor
It was eighth period Tuesday afternoon. The final class of the day. I was taking a break from working on my powerpoint in the library to check Twitter. I assumed it would be the usual basketball tweets that I would scroll through, but this was much different.
I began to see students from around the district tweeting at District 214 asking for a snow day Wednesday … and the district was tweeting back. However, these replies were not just the standard “We will keep you updated when there is confirmation.”
Rather, these tweets were much sassier. It was clear that the district was trying to have fun with the students. photo 1From the “Mean Girl” references and Futurama Fry meme to even tweeting a picture of Baylor football player Shawn Oakman, the District 214 account was gaining some popularity and loving each and every moment of it.
The account was at an all-time high that night when it released a photo of Oprah Winfrey who was yelling and screaming in an excited fashion. A speech bubble appeared next to her exclaiming, “you get a snow day!”
There was some positive buzz around the twitter sphere in the northwest suburbs that night. The two women who ran the account must have been on cloud nine. Good for them.
But in the back of my mind, I knew this wasn’t right. According to these media managers, they were simply trying to engage students, but it came across as very unprofessional.
When the district account announced Wednesday at 3 p.m. that school would be reopened Thursday, everything began to take a turn for the worse. Students were asking, “Why wouldn’t there be a snow day if Thursday is supposed to be even colder?” and otherwise arguing with administrators.
The district disagreed and insisted that the “pesky forecast keeps getting warmer,” and that they were continuing to monitor the 2
Students began to tweet at the account reports of the severe upcoming weather and the 90-plus Illinois districts that had already shut down. Even meteorologists  — such as Andrew Racki from the University of Oklahoma — were tweeting at District 214 and suggested that it would be smart to close down the school.
I lost my patience when District 214 tweeted:
photo 3“We wish we could get along like we used to … We wish we could bake a cake filled with rainbows & smiles & everyone would eat & be happy.”
I immediately responded:
“@D214 Stop these immature tweets. This account represents our faculty and students. As a professional, you treat this job like a joke.”
The tweet sparked attention and soon gained over 50 retweets and over 200 favorites. The district shortly after deleted their cake-filled tweet.
My little 140-character statement was the truth, and I soon learned that my teachers and most of my peers were in agreement.
We were embarrassed.
We were embarrassed by the apparent lack of awareness of their wide audience.
We were embarrassed at the fact that no one in the higher ups of District 214 was monitoring these tweets.
Moving forward, there needs to be a solid set of guidelines for what the district can and cannot post on social media. They failed in how they handled the situation this week.
These women were clearly not prepared to handle the official district account. “When do you engage?” one of them asked in reflection. “When is it too much? When does the back-and-forth need to stop?”  These are the questions they needed to have answers to BEFORE they sent their first tweet.
Since these social media professionals did not seem to understand these key factors, they should not have the responsibility of controlling an official district account that represents over 12,000 students, teachers and families.
This was a learning experience, but they can’t stand by their tweets from a professional standpoint. We all know this is a bunch of cake-filled and rainbow colored garbage, and I hope that they release an apology along with a new professional policy.