Social Networking with Digital Natives

timdavies.jpgI had a coffee with Youth particpation and social media Guru, Tim Davies, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Oxford Diocese are running a day for Communications Directors around ‘new media and opportunities’ and Tim is leading a session exploring engaging with young people …. hence the preliminary chat.
We were talking about boundaries around Social Networking with young people and how should/shouldn’t engagement work. I’m keen that if youth workers do have the young people as ‘friends’ then that fact should be written into letters/programmes for parents. Tim pointed me to an excellent bit of practice though where a youth worker he knows, in addition sends a note to the young person reminding them of their ‘friends’ status and laying out what that means, including a reminder that the youth worker will now see stuff they post on their profile. I thought this was good practice!
We also chatted about young people not always being aware of what was private and what was public, as well as citing other examples of where young people are highly proficient but not always savvy. Tim quoted me an excllent phrase that I think is a great summary of young people as ‘digital natives.’ The phrase he used was that they are (often) ‘fluent not literate.’
We also had a chat about young people seeing SN as their space, was the presence of a youth worker an invasion of privacy? Tim pointed me to the site of Tom Gasken who uses SN to engage with young people but is very keen to embody the principles of ‘voluntary participation’ with the young peson having the choice to not be involved.
He also pointed that as in the physical world, the presence of responsible adults makes spaces safer!