Texts, Lies, and Mediascapes: Communication Technologies and Social Media as Risk in the Educational Landscape

Des médias sociaux en tant que risque dans le paysage éducatif


  • Samuel Pelkey University of Alberta
  • Bonnie Stelmach University of Alberta
  • Darryl Hunter University of Alberta


risk, social media, school leadership


Studies have shown how digital communications impact administrators’ work, but few have looked at the reputational risks to school administrators incurred through social media and digital communications. This Alberta case study looks at risk through Kasperson et. al’s (1988) social amplification of risk framework for an exclusion room controversy. Twitter responses are analyzed and interpreted over a longitudinal, 5-year period. Despite school administrators’ perceptions that risk might be generated on social media from community-led, grass-roots sources, traditional figures and agencies such as provincial news media and politicians appear more influential than school administrators, teachers, or parents in the Twitterverse. Implications are drawn for educational administrative behaviour and policy.

Author Biographies

Bonnie Stelmach, University of Alberta

Professor, Faculty of Education - Educational Policy Studies Dept.

Darryl Hunter, University of Alberta

Associate Professor & Associate Chair, Faculty of Education - Educational Policy Studies Dept.