Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

We have a vision….

….of creating a virtual space for all our Youth Forums to convene, discuss and interact!

I probably need to explain this a bit more. With the introduction of the Youth Opportunity & Capital Funds we had various discussions with young people and amongst ourselves as to how to distribute the money and really make sure that it was for and by young people. The message was very simply keep it local. We / they created a County Wide Youth Opportunity Forum (YOF) to support groups with a county wide remit (and to act as a bit of a steering group) and 24 Locality Youth Forums (LYFs!) which reflected the 24 localities across the County.

It wasn’t an easy task however it has been fantastic getting the money out to the different areas and has really enabled young people to decide where and how to spend the money they have been allocated and see the end results of their decision making.

Now our challenge is to develop all the forums, expand their remit from being purely a grant giving one to also encompassing democratic issues, having their voices heard and increasing their (LYFs) representation and involvement with the County Wide group. Within this some of the many difficulties and issues we are facing revolve around communication with each other and developing support from colleagues who feel that this isn’t their job.

And hence the idea of maximising social media to do some of this. We are mulling over whether we can use some of the social networking sites or blogs to develop this? Obviously we need to understand the various setups more and also work with the different groups to see if they are interested in this idea but if anyone else has any thoughts, suggestions or ideas then do feel free to contribute!! Or maybe you are already doing something similar? We’d love to hear from you!



Comments on: "We have a vision…." (5)

  1. Wikis sound perfect for your needs or even google docs (because more than one person can edit at one time), couple that with skype or other chat clients and bish-bash-bosh you got it 🙂

    Will chat more when we connect tomorrow…

  2. Hey

    We’re about to start exploring some issues like this in the action research phase of the Youth Work and Social Networking project (and I’m just working on a guide for PW around this right now…). I’ll make sure we blog from that well 🙂

    I know Devon are looking at how they use Social Network Sites and forums in their work.

    On of the first things I might look to do is some good old fashioned community mapping (only online this time). Where are people already hanging out? Are these social spaces only? Or could you talk participation topics in those spaces? Are there conversations already taking place you can bring together? What training needs would groups have to be able to engage in an online collaboration space?

    The second thing I’d look at very carefully would be ‘transactions’. What information do you want to flow between people that isn’t flowing already? Are the blocks technical? Are the blocks skill based? Are they culture based? Are they down to people being overloaded with content? In most cases you find a mix of factors – and social technology can only solve part of the problem (although it often has a catalyst role to play in sorting out others…).

    When you know about the existing community, and the transactions (e.g. ‘asking for help’, ‘sharing skills’, ‘having a general conversation’, ‘campaigning for change’, ‘sharing documents’) that you want to take place you’re in a place to choose the tools for the job that you’ll start out with – and to adapt the tools you use as you go…. (as you’re unlikely to be able to design the perfect virtual platform… always look to evolve it….)

  3. Personally I wouldn’t use wiki’s – I think many people (me included) find them ‘fiddly’ and they’re often pretty ugly too which like it or not does impact on them being used.

    I’d also tread carefully abut creating a virtual space – not for all the usual alarm bells reasons, but simply because there are so many examples of these that either die a rapid death or worse still are left online with no users.

    This isn’t to say they can’t work – of course they can, but based on my own experience they work best when people actually need them – so for example if you have several forums working together on joint projects and who need to stay in touch its much more likely they’ll use something online to do this, whereas it tends not to work so well the other way round.

    Making use of online networks as Tim suggests, and that people are already a part of could be a big time & money saver – I do have a slight concern with this though which is that I’m starting to think that when we ‘invade’ young peoples social spaces we should probably ask for permission first – I realise that facebook for example does allow people to decline friend requests etc. but I wonder if people mostly don’t do this out of politeness (or hoping to build up their friend count!) – and that there ought to be more consideration by professionals to make the effort to check if young people are happy to mix up their different interests/work/studies etc. in one place of if they prefer to keep them separate.

    We’re still trialling facebook for organising courses & updating members and so far its a split feeling between those that would prefer it to be separate and those that like the convenience of having just one place to get their info.

  4. billybean said:

    Thank you all – thought provoking as usual. We are aiming to have a discussion with the Locality Forums about this and your suggestions and ideas have given me a lot of starting points.

    Colleagues have already started to use Facebook for some of their work as most of them know this and can see it’s uses. I think that there is an interesting issue around how ‘merged’ your identities can become with these sites which you raise Mike. Will it be more the norm now that this happens? If this is what YP are experiencing does it matter that it is different from what we have experienced as adults? I think that this isn’t just with these networking sites. With mobiles you have potential to be more ‘connected’ than ever before and the ‘reach’ and support of friends and others is more continuous. This then blurs the old lines between school, home etc.

  5. […] news out for events & courses and seeing who’s available. As Hilary points out in the comments on this blog post maybe the ‘old lines between work & play’ will disappear? If so is this […]

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