Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Youth Groups on Myspace

Pulse, the youth group I’m a leader of, has a myspace. A couple of weeks ago I handed responsibility for the Pulse myspace over to one of the youth group kids. However, I also drew up the few guidelines below about the purpose of the Pulse myspace. Does your youth group have a myspace? Why, why not? Has it been a good, bad, or indifferent experience?

Pulse Myspace Guidelines


The Purpose of Pulse Myspace


The Pulse myspace does not exist simply because it is the latest cool thing to do. Pirating music might be cool, but we don’t do that. Rather, the Pulse myspace exists for the specific purpose of supporting and building up Pulse. That is, the purpose of the Pulse myspace is to contribute to the goal of young people from Nowra becoming Christians and growing in Christian maturity. There are at least three ways the Pulse myspace can contribute to this goal.

1. To be an accurate reflection of the face-to-face Pulse community in the online world. Deep community and friendship is formed through relating and spending time with people face-to-face. Communication technologies such as the telephone, email, instant messaging, and the web can support, but not replace face-to- face friendships and community. Thus the Pulse myspace should not be something separate from other things Pulse does. Rather, the Pulse myspace should be an extension of who we are and what we do when we get together in person. A few of examples of what this practically this means are:
  • The Pulse myspace must be easily identified as Christian.

  • Pulse shouldn’t be listed as male or female, because we are not a single sex group. Nor should the myspace look really ‘boyish’ or really ‘girlish’.

  • People who request to be friends, but who are not part of Pulse or the Nowra Baptist Church community should be denied (we are not trying to start a separate online community).

  • If photos, videos, or quotes from Pulse are used, they must be used to build up and encourage, not to tear down or ridicule.

  • Any comments left on the page, which are not appropriate, should be deleted.


2. To direct interested people back to the main Pulse website. The main Pulse website (http://youth.nowrabaptist.asn.au) is the source of all up to date and detailed information about Pulse. The Pulse myspace should not try to duplicate the main Pulse site. Rather than list lots of details, the Pulse myspace should simply tell people what Pulse is, who it is for, and that they can find more info at the main Pulse site.

3. To help those who are part of Pulse and Nowra Baptist Church express their Christian faith online. It’s easy to pretend to be someone you are not online. However, Christians must be truthful and authentic in the online world as much as the offline world. The Pulse myspace hopes to make it easy for those who are part of Pulse, and have their own myspace, to declare their involvement in a Christian group. This may be done through the myspace ‘friends’ system, leaving comments, etc.

5 comments:

David said...

People who request to be friends, but who are not part of Pulse or the Nowra Baptist Church community should be denied (we are not trying to start a separate online community).

i thought about this a bit last year when we started our youth group myspace (myspace.com/ccecyouth) - i figure that if there are non-Christian teenagers who want to be hooked up with our youth group - that's great... basically they are subscribing to our bulletins, we can advertise events in their comments section.

we've twice has a one dude say some stupid things - we deleted them... but it wasn't enough to delete him and others from the friends list.

what do you think??

Tim Roediger said...

You might be right. So far the only people from outside the Nowra Baptist community who have asked to be friends have appeared to be spammers, which is why I wrote the guidelines as I did.

David said...

there's been clear spammers that i've deleted and/or reported - and definitely not added. but there are a reasonable number of Central coast teenagers who have been added - but may have had little if any contact with our youth group. my message to them: "glad to have you!"

Tim Roediger said...

You're probably right. I'll change the guidelines if we have teens from around Nowra asking to be friends.

CJ said...

I run the St Matts Youth MySpace page. We basically follow the same guidelines that you guys do - we intentionally created the profile as non gender specific, with the aim of pointing people to our youth website, which is where the main content is located.

In terms of adding people, we have had a similar experience to CCECYouth. Virtually all the people on our friends list are kids from youth group, although there are a few local kids who have heard about us in some way or another and added us. It means that these kids now get some Christian input through their MySpace, and a couple have even come along to events that we have run. We also have some of the young adults who aren't youth leaders (ie out-of-high-school age, who support our youth ministry) as friends, which is good for the youth kids to see more mature Christians with an online presence as well.