Students Only Check Facebook?

At the annual UU Campus Ministry Advisory Committee we had a long discussion about the proliferation of student communication via social networking sites like facebook and friendster (oh yeah, myspace as well).  We talked about reports that some students (people?) only check facebook for messages – bypassing their email accounts all together.  Wow! 

I talked with Rev. Greg McGonigle, Associate Campus Minister with a program at UC Davis in Northern California about the boundaries of ministers/religious professionals being on networks such as facebook.  Particularly the code of ethics we need to follow should information come to our attention that requires reporting or action.

This is really a critical question, in light of the Virginia Tech shootings (who knew, what did they do about it?), and the responsibility of advisors/mentors/professionals who encounter destructive or oppressive material.  On a related note, it is remarkable the level of community and sharing that goes on with FaceBook.  I’ve signed up for a trial 30 day test period to see "whats up".  Already I’m connecting with many folks from undergrad and graduate school, plus a whole lot of UU’s.  I think it makes sense to have pastors "in community" in places like these, that these are not exclusive nor better off with out us. 

What do you think?

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3 responses to “Students Only Check Facebook?

  1. I’ve long wondered why congregations don’t use Facebook for reaching out and building campus ministries – it’s really easy to find other unitarian universalists at your school that you probably didn’t know about (just click UU on the religion thing if thats your religion up on your home page, and it pulls up the other UUs in your network.)

  2. in response to kinsi’s comment, i’d say the main reason is that most congregations have little or no interest in campus ministry at all, nor a concept of community ministry in general. i think it comes down to one central challenge: without a belief in saving souls from hell, we need a more nuanced concept of ministry that still extends far beyond the inner circle of pledging members and into the community at large… but i don’t think most congregations see it this way.

  3. And yes, absolutely, I think it makes fabulous sense to have ministers “in community” online, beyond uucyf and buurn, and especially on Facebook. What an incredible way to organize UU students and young adults.

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