Exploring youth engagement in a digital age
I've implemented Facebook within some of the WIltshire Development Centres for young people, with the support of the service. The pages are either hit or miss depending on the person behind it. The centre I run has shown that Facebook is a brilliant interaction and advertising tool and we have empowered young people to alsostart using facebook as more of a political tool in the promotion of change and local democracy.
However, this positive report is not the same at a youth development centre of similar size where-by the facebook page is not used by staff or interacted with and therefore young people do not interact with it either.
My research area is around reconstructing friendship in a virtual world, taking a look into the modern meaning of friendship and how the use of social networking and avliability of communication (with the android phone development) has reconfigured (if at all) the nature of friendship and the understanding of friendship as a concept.
More than willing to do a survey etc if I can be of any help,
In Richmond we now have a regularly updated facebook page 'Richmond Borough Youth' which you could take a look at. It seems that some young people access it, but only when directed to it. Out of a teenage population in the borough of about 100,000 only 178 are facebook friends! The problem is getting them to belong to the site as a 'friend' . Any survey information you could do would be really useful for my project. I suppose the key question to the young people would be "what would attract you to our facebook page?"
in our orgaisation we have just begun a pilot where we will use facebook to promote our activities and to keep in contact with young people in our groups . So far so good we are finding that the minute we put up something on their wall in a matter of minutes all the young people know about it. Obviously there will be some issues one being who will be able to access this information and have access to a computer or facebook on their phone, getting all the consents from back from the parents was another issue and took some time but worth it now. We also chat to the young people online which also brings up some concerns especially if we think that there might be an issue so in this case we would call them in so we could chat face to face.
We need to do some research in the community about some of these issues but as a maketing tool for our organisation we are begining to realise that there is a real potential here Over the next couple of months we will use facebook to promte the summer program but then this will only apply to the young people over the age of thirteen . . Like all youthwork and community organisations in Ireland and England at the moment we are facing more cuts to funding so we think this is a free resource that we can use to our advantage now instaed of the usual flyers or texts to their phones which all costs money. Again we have only just started this abnd im sure there will be some weakness and also some benefits down the line . We will let you know
Great to hear about this :)
I've just put together a handbook on using social media to promote projects through a project in Nottingham. Will blog it here shortly, but can be found at http://www.measure-up.org.uk/the-measure-up-handbook
Do report back on how your learning with Facebook goes - would love to hear...