Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Posts tagged ‘social networking’

Social Media and Gender

Image

This picture is taken from the latest research report Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media. They surveryed over 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds nationally to understand how they perceive social media (like Facebook and Twitter) affects their relationships and feelings about themselves.

I have just read the headline areas which cover a number of different topics, from wanting time ‘unplugged’ to preferring face to face conversations however the area that particularly struck me from a youthworkers perspective was the bit I’ve highlighted in relation to young womens feelings / thoughts concerning social media.

I hadn’t really thought about social media in the context of gender and this info graphic I think is essential for Youthworkers. (along with the others produced on the website).

I think there can be an assumption by youth workers that social networking and online relationships are happening ‘elsewhere’ (as in not in reality, not on the ground) and therefore aren’t important compared to the actual face to face activity or work that is happening. However so much of a young persons life now (including parents)  is online that it is essential Youth Workers understand what is happening in this area and include it in their curriculum. And the point raised for me by the first picture is what are we doing for young women in this area? How are we supporting them with their thoughts and feelings in relation to what is posted, especially photographs. I’d be interested to hear about youthworkers who are exploring this in their local youth groups, and what they / you are doing to support young people in managing and living ‘online’?

Notes from the Connected Generation Conference 2010 – Part One

Courtesy of Elsie esq

WoW! What a day! Thanks to Tim Davies and Katie Bacon!

I am currently reviewing my notes from the Connected Generation Conference and my brain is brimming over with ideas, thoughts and actions!

The day started off with a number of thought provoking speakers. Amy  Sample Ward gave a quick ( :) ) and inspiring talk setting the context for interacting and engaging young people online, Joanne Jopling discussed the detached work she has been delivering with young women in Gateshead and how this moved on line with some of the pros and cons of using Facebook and MSN Katie Bacon discussed the use of social networking for youth participation and talked through some of her experiences in Devon, again highlighting areas that youth workers need to consider when interacting online. Kieron Kirkland, a learning researcher for Futurelab talked through  InfoCow an online resource that supports young people to explore their aspirations and entitlements and engage with the information, networks and tools that can help put these into practice. And finally Mog talked about Digital Storytelling

So – already mind shocked and the cogs whirring we broke down into work shops for further discussions and presentations. Points that I picked up to reflect on were:-

  • How much should we use offline policies as the basis for developing online ones? Whilst I can see that this would be useful I think that it is important to note that young people use and react differently online. Currently they tend to be much more open, will talk, post, and share personal things that they wouldn’t share face to face. Should this therefore be reflected more in online policies?
  • How we include data protection, the use of cookies etc in the policies we develop (still not too clear on this area myself as it is more techy but it was an area I thought needed noting.)
  • The need to ensure that colleagues keep records of their online interactions, just as they would if they had had a telephone conversation, meeting etc with a young person.
  • The need to educate young people around safety and privacy settings. For instance if they are interacting with us online through an SNS and we note that their profile is ‘open’ should we send email messages to let them know and advice on how to change it?
  • To remember the digital divide does exisit and not to suppose all young people know how to use IT and apps that are about.
  • How do young people know they are talking to a bona fide staff member?
  • Making your online space welcoming and youth friendly and maintaining this.
  • The training needs of both staff and young people, including work around personal boundaries, code of conduct , the impact of their digital foot print – thinking about what is behind the profiles and groups, moderations policies etc.

And that was just the morning!!!!! :)

Connected Generation 2010: Social Media and Work with young people

As promised here goes the start of a new series of posts! I’m currently on the train heading down to Bristol for this event which I’m hoping will reinvigorate our endeavours in the world of social media and young people. I have been technically literate !!! (on a WSCC laptop but not the usual one!) and managed to get a dongle to connect and set me up with access to the internet as I journey down. (A new experience but oh how it opens up the world!)

This is a timely conference as we, as other youth services, are in the midst of service cuts and transformation. At the moment there are a series of consultations happening (both online and through stakeholder events) to try to gain more information and interest in the shape of future services. Som of these have raised how much / if services can be delivered online. I am therefore looking forward to ths event and on meeting with colleagues to discuss how they are working and what they have been able to acheive online.

I will keep you posted!

Youth Work Online Unconference

For those of you that haven’t yet picked it up or read it on the Youth Work online ning there will be an unconference this year on 11th July. You can find out more about the Connected Generation: 2009 unconference on online engagement here on Tims blog.

It’s free to attend, in the same place in Central London as last years thanks to Steph Grey and DIUS, and registration is now open.

If you work with young people and are interested in developing ways in which you can use social media and online technologies to engage and work with them then this unconference is an ideal opportunity to meet others and discuss how to make this a reality. It’s  an opportunity to explore big ideas, and the practical realities of weaving the web into work with young people so head on over to Tims site and register now!!

Expanding the potential of social media

 Courtesy of 10ch

Thanks to 10ch

I find it interesting to see how, when discussing social media with others, the almost immediate desire is to use Facebook or Bebo or other Social Networking sites (SNS) to do youth work (or at least support their work). When you look at this in more detail it is mainly because this is a forum that colleagues have heard and know a bit about. Digging even deeper many colleagues aren’t necesarily too sure what they will do with it and how this might expand their youth work.  Mike Amos Simpson picked this up when feeding back about the UKYouthOnline Unconference and made some interesting comments here about youth workers obsession with SNS and limiting ourselves by just focusing on these aspects and not thinking widely enough about how we might maximise the potential of the web and technology. It’s also picked up on the comments section of his post here.

Whilst I’m interested in how we might use SNS in youth work I think you will probably have picked up that I am more excited by how we might use social media in it’s wholeness to support, develop and create the ways in which we work with young people. Mike’s idea of Digital Youth Work is an example of that.

I guess this is why I started out in blogging and then used my understanding of the possibilities with this to encourage some colleagues to try it and look at how they can incorporate blogging as a tool to support various areas of youth work (including recorded and accredited outcomes!). Through my journeys around the blogosphere and the internet in general I come across many examples of how over in the formal education sector so many of our colleagues are / have already been exploring this area. I have been following the Education and Curriculum Masters course for teachers run by Dr. Alec Couros, a professor of educational technology and media at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina . This course encourages teachers to explore and blog about what they are learning with regards to digital media and how it can support teaching in the classroom. I would love to see something like this for youth workers in training (or perhaps there already is and I just don’t know it!).

A few of the other education blogs concerning new technology and its application that I follow are:-

Mr Mayo who is middle school Language Arts teacher in Maryland

Vicki Davis who has been involved in the flatclassroom project and digiteen

The Edublogger

Perhaps if we set up some sort of project to work on online, or share info we could do some more discussion / learning online. Again, in the education sector there are various online forums where educators get together to talk about a subject at a given time and date. Maybe if there is enough interest this is something we could try. (I’d have to get up to speed with Skype and Twitter I feel but I’d give it a go if it meant we moved the ‘community’ forward.) What do you think?

Work on our Social Media Strategy finally Begins!

Hurray! On Tuesday we finally held our first learning and working group meeting to develop the Social Media Strategy for West Sussex Youth Service. For newcomers I’ve previously written about this here and here. It was great to be meeting up again so long after our training with Mediasnackers. Colleagues experience ranged from those who only know a bit about social networks etc to others with substantial technological expertise.

We discussed the way forward, in particular brainstorming the reasons why we wanted to use social media. This led to some interesting debates about innovation and thinking outside of the box.  For some of the group the focus was more on learning about what was currently out there and how we could make use of these tools to enhance youth workers practice rather than actually changing or using the tools in a different way.

Part of the time was also set aside to share our own online discoveries and current practice. This was a useful way for colleagues to learn more about online possibilities and to gain more experience. We finished off sharing out a number of tasks with a view to posting them on our own ning site prior to meeting again in a few weeks.

There’s a few urgent areas we need to move on. I’ve been visiting a few centres recently and know that young people are using computers in them without any guidance posted in relation to both safety online and acceptable use. I’m also aware of centres publicising their activities on SNS and colleagues using their personal profiles online. Without wanting to restrict colleagues and young people I think that these are areas we need to address as soon as possible for all concerned.

UKYouthOnline Unconference

Wow! I’m really disappointed that I missed the UkYouthOnline unconference on Saturday. It sounds like it was a great day with a meeting of like minded people involved in youth work, social media technology and a range of other professions. A huge thanks must go to Tim Davies who has been a real driving force not only in setting up and running UkYouthOnline but also in organising the conference. Having not been there it’s hard for me to report on it however there are a host of posts coming through, try a few of these as well as visiting the main site for more on all things Internet, young people, youthwork, social and INNOVATIVE!!

The Power of unconference

How are Young People using Social Media

UkYouthOnline and Open Source Youth Work

UkYouthOnline Reflections

Digital Youth Work – Rationale

The Online Conversation in the back of the bus!

Recently I’ve been having a look at some Social Networking Sites that colleagues have set up and came across an interesting conundrum (or at least I thought it was!). A youth provision had set up a Bebo site that has attracted a reasonable number of young people. I looked around the site and then thought I’d see what sort of access the young peoples’ profiles had (as education in this area is something I think we need to work on with youth workers). On clicking on a young persons profile I went through to their page and a whole set of photographs. I felt that one of the photos was inappropriate – it was of a sign saying ‘gay’ with an arrow pointing at another young person who had their back turned away. There were a few, not particularly nice, jokes in the comments section following this.

Courtesy of didbygraham

Courtesy of didbygraham

So the question I was left with was what, if anything, do I about this? Mike Amos Simpson has previously raised questions about how far we encroach into young people’s spaces and this crossed my mind. After all it wasn’t directly on the site managed by us.

However this didn’t sit comfortably with me. I was then talking with a colleague about social media in general and this topic came up. In discussion we concluded that this was roughly equivalent to when you’re driving a minibus full of young people (more…)

Social Media Training with MediaSnackers

Wow! What a great and informative few days we had last week. A group of 10 of us from across the county got together for 2 days of training by MediaSnackers, I’ll talk a bit more about it in a moment but why write when you can see a more dynamic version so…..

Thanks DK and team!!!!

As you can see we were enthralled! The training gave us a good overview of lots of different sites that we could use both between ourselves as professionals as well as with young people and demystified alot of the technology (I even understand all about my RSS feeds now, something I’d managed to sort of pick up but isn’t it so much quicker when someone shows you how?!?!)

I think one of the real ‘in your face’ aspects of the training was that with very limited hardware (a few cameras and some mobile phones) and a little know how you can actually quickly design some great looking, funky sites, create polls and share lots of information. Having the chance to explore Bebo was quite eye opening to all of us as it was really easy and as Tim Davies  mentions on the Youth and Social Networking Research Project Blog  it’s amazing how much you can learn in such a short space of time. Tims’ also developed a one pager on how to get started on Bebo but really the best way to work out what it can do is to go and have a go yourself, try it out! With so many young people interested and using the site it has to be easy!

The training really brought home to us how little we think and use the internet in developing our work and just made us realise how much more we needed to get to grips with the technology. However for me the fundamental questions still need to be answered, how are we best going to use this, and developing technology to do or support our youthwork? And on we go towards our social media strategy!!!!

Disarming Britain

The other interesting item I picked up on recently was about the Disarming Britain series on Channel 4.  Mike Amos Sipmson has blogged about the tv programmes here and comments on “how much responsibility the popular media should take for glamourising gangs and street violence. How much of the fear that apparently drives some young people to carry weapons is actually rooted in the image of young people painted by the media, and how much do programmes like these improve matters or do they actually make them worse?”

The reason however that Disarming Britain popped up in my inbox was through a social issues games list that highlighted the game, Dead Ends that had been developed to run alongside the programmes. Reid Bryant Kimball writes about it in his blog here and offers some interesting ways in which the game could be developed, although I agree with the comment that Aaron Hung makes that it possibly should be more about the reasons why young people join violent gangs rather than why young people die in gang violence.

What I find really fascinating though is all the thought that has gone into trying to have a dialogue and involve everyone in the conversation. There is space to upload video, talk on facebook and bebo, blog comments etc. It is quite an integrated site (from my amateurs perspective!) for using the technology available although I am left wondering how Channel 4 are intending (or not) to take forward the issues raised. What will they do with the information and how / can this have an impact in a wider sense on developing support and understanding of knive crime? However what a great resource for youth workers looking for more facts, information and ways in which to raise and discuss the issues with young people.

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