Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Facing Facebook

    Usually, even though we have mission trips and camps, I don’t stay as connected with my youth over summer. But this year it has really changed. Facebook has totally reinvented the ways in which I maintain my relationships with youth. It seems like everyone, all day long, constantly gives updates on what they are doing. It really is amazing. But, my question is this: Can you maintain a sense of community over status updates? The answer: I’m not sure.

    As we begin planning for our community building activities this fall, I wonder what the role of technology will be? Sometimes it seems that youth share more openly on Facebook than they do in person. What does this say about our level of comfort with one another? Can we only say what we really think when in the comfort of cyber world?

    What is the balance between Facebook and youth group? Facebook and church?



    momof3darlings said...

    We've had the same experience, til now, even our Pastor has Facebook. We've had many discussions over 'status' in our Youth dept. LOL Some good...some were OMGosh, did you really say that?? But there have been those times that someone will share something and that gives me a clue I need to spend some time with that girl, and it's been very rewarding. It DOES give us more insight into their lives, who they hang out with, and what they feel comfortable talking. Lots and lots of lessons have been born through Facebook. ;)

    Glad I found your blog! Nice to know other people are going through a lot of the same things. LOL I'll have to add you to my blogroll!

    Mark Smith said...

    Can you maintain community over Facebook? Exclusively - no. In tandem with other communication methods - yes.

    I use Facebook as an early warning system. It tells me when I need to check in with a youth on something.

    It also connects me with MANY people in youth ministry that I would not otherwise communicate with, except maybe at events or conferences. It has provided for a deeper starting point in relationships with others when I meet them In Real Life for the first time - we can cut through a lot of the getting-to-know-you stuff because we know each others' stories.

    KaGe said...

    i would agree with Mark...only as a supplement. but the thing i've learned is that it's way too easy to get lazy and rely on Facebook to give you insight to students' lives instead of getting out of your office and meeting them face to face and asking them. somehow it feels more real and authentic when you hear it from them instead of reading it on a status update.

    although it does help to have some background info when going into a conversation...it keeps the, "How are you?"-"Good." conversations to a minimum and allows you to ask more open ended questions that aren't shots in the dark.