Photo credit: Flickr CC user Kevin Dooley
These days every moment of everyone’s life can be an Instagram-worthy moment–from snapping a shot of that fancy sushi dinner date to clicking a group shot before the big football game to capturing a stressful study selfie in the school library–anything and everything can turn into an artistic moment.
The increase of photo sharing in the last few years isn’t too much of a stretch. Most students own a smartphone of some kind, which means they have a camera with them 24/7–literally–and they love to share what they’re up to just as frequently.
While classic yearbook photos aren’t going anywhere any time soon, why not use the thousands of student selfies and group photos taken everyday at your school by highlighting some of them weekly on your yearbook’s blog and other social media channels? Set some ground rules, advertise it in the school paper or morning announcements, and let the entries pour in.
One way to get people to turn in photos is to create a hashtag for those who want to participate. You can have a standard one that is used all the time, or you can make a game of it and change the hashtag weekly to tie-in with what’s going on around campus during that time.
Some of you might be wondering what the heck a hashtag is. According to the dictionary, a hashtag is simply a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign (#) which helps identify messages on a specific topic. For example, in the case of the yearbook blog, you can broadcast the photo feature on your Twitter account by saying: “Send us your favorite school sports selfie #goteam!”
Once you set up your hashtag strategy, set a deadline for submissions (for example all photos sent before noon on Thursdays will be considered for Friday’s blog).
After you have received all the week’s submissions, spend ten to fifteen minutes during yearbook class to choose the one to highlight for the week. Try to mix up winners from week to week, so students don’t think it’s just a way for yearbook students to add photos of their own friends.
Notify the winner and get a quote as to where they were when they took the photo, why they took it and anything else that ties in with that week’s theme.
Now it’s time to post to the blog. Upload the photo, add the fun facts, and make sure to share on the yearbook’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Create another hashtag that allows the students to easily share the winning photo and works as motivation for them to keep sending in more shots week after week.
These winning photos don’t just have to live on the web. You have a living, breathing yearbook spread in the works. Using the winning shots, create a fun selfie spread in the yearbook that shows all the winners together on the same page. Not only do student submissions add flavor to the yearbook, but it allows kids who aren’t on the yearbook staff to feel like they contributed in some small way.
What weekly columns have you implemented on your yearbook blog? Which ones have taken off and which ones fell flat? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comment box below.