For some reason as I was reading Scott’s article, every time he said the phrase “Flash back” my mind went to “Flash Dance”! Maybe that’s because when I did his little exercise, that dumb movie was the first thing I “flashed back” to! Thanks, Scott, for searing the image of a big-haired, leg warmer-wearing, torn t-shirt-sporting dancer in my mind.
But his article did get me thinking a little bit about Facebook; specifically my ‘wall’ and my ‘updates’. Because I have my twitter account set to automatically update my Facebook status, it gets several real time updates a day. A safe place to touch base with friends, family and other youth workers, right? Kinda. A couple weeks ago I twittered that I was surprising my 7th grade guys small group with pizza. A few hours later when I arrived at group, one of them greeted me with, “I knew you were bringing us pizza ‘cuz I saw it on your Facebook….”. For some reason (maybe because I’m old and not very ‘techy’), it had never really dawned on me that the students I lead may actually be paying close attention to my Facebook page.
For several years we have had fairly rigid guidelines in place for the type of content our volunteer leaders display on their various websites, blogs and social networks. However, my little pizza party experience was a great reminder that EVERYTHING I post can, and probably will, be seen by the eyes of my students. If you blog, twitter, have a Facebook account or any such online presence, I highly recommend you take the time to run everything you post through the filter of “What if a junior higher in my ministry or one of their parents sees this”.
Doing so can save you from the embarrassment of a ruined pizza party surprise….or much worse.