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School Systems' Tweets Are a One-Way Street

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 26, 2009

Twittr not jst for college profs: local schools r tweeting 2. Ffax in April, MoCo last wk & PW this summer. 140 characters good 4 qwik news.

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But so far, no local school feed has the interactivity typical to Twitter. Schools in Montgomery and Fairfax counties stick to a formula: brief teaser followed by a briefer link to a full article on their Web sites.

A recent tweet from Fairfax's @fcpsnews account: "All Fairfax County High Schools Make Newsweek's List of Top High Schools in U.S. (6/9/09)," along with a Web site link.

Still, the Fairfax school system had 557 people following its Twitter account last week. Montgomery schools had 870. Expect tweets from Prince William County schools this summer.

School officials say it's just another way to reach out to students and parents. Fairfax schools also opened a Facebook account late last month that passes along the same news as that over Twitter. As of last week, 1,155 people had signed up to receive Fairfax Facebook updates.

"We wanted to cast a larger net to reach individuals of all ages who are using social networking sites," Fairfax schools spokeswoman Mary Shaw said in an e-mail. But the communication is all in one direction. Shaw said it would take too much staff time for the school system to monitor incoming messages from Facebook and Twitter.

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