Feel free to comment and add your own thoughts to this post and the major changes that facebook are bringing in around 30th September.
Timeline is a complete overhaul of the profile page. It is, in reality, an online scrapbook of your life with the most memorable moments, photos, status updates on a one page display for everyone to see. This gives you the opportunity to present your own biography giving everyone the chance to share in your life.
Here’s what it looks like
Previously, as an ice breaker with young people, I have asked them to design a scrapbook highlighting the key moments in their life. It gets them thinking and reflecting and gives them an opportunity to share something of their life with other people. This is what Timeline is allowing people to do online. I think it’s a brilliant idea and could be used as a part of your youth club or group to bring it a bit of variety and get involved in their online world.
Saying that, like all technology, it has its downsides as well as its positives.
Facebook has always had the potential to breed narcissism. The never ending quest to be loved and accepted by showing people how great you are by showing the ‘perfect’ side of your life whilst deleting the boring or horrible stuff. I think working with young people on their timeline in a youth club setting would help kerb some of that but it is an area that youth workers need to be aware of.
Before all you could do to a video, picture, comment etc on facebook was ‘like’ it. Now with gestures you can let people know you are WATCHING a film, LISTENING to music, READING a book. This again will allow people to share their passions with one another and see that other people like their stuff as well.
On the downside, it will lead to more spam as advertisers well then be able to send you more user specific adverts. It will also mean an abundance of over-sharing but with the new ‘ticker’ feed at the right hand side, your main home page won’t be filled with all this info.
Facebook plans to take over the online media world as well and because of a number of recent partnerships, you will now be able to watch movies, listen to music and read books and newspapers without ever having to leave facebook. If a friend is doing any of the above, it will show on your ticker feed and allow you to join in the experience with them.
This offers a whole load of possibilities like having online film nights with your youth group, where you can talk and comment on what you are watching, share new music and talk about news stories with each other. This is an area I am keen to see explored with youth workers and their young people.
All in all, I think the facebook overhaul offers some great opportunities for work with young people. There are the negatives and we need to be wary of endorsing facebook to the extent that young people spend all of their time there (which they now could theoretically) but let us embrace online youth work and share our experiences together.
Are you as positive as I am about the changes or are there areas I have not given enough thought to?
- Facebook and Discipleship (smoorns.wordpress.com)