Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Facebook In-Real-Life

Here I am, sitting in McDonald's with nine WorshipArts students. The layout of the restaurant, intentionally designed to accommodate the average American family of four (or maybe six if the generous parents allowed the two kids to bring their friends) didn't have a place where we could all sit together. So the Genesis team is clustered seven people around a four person booth, and myself and two others are at their nifty laptop bar.

Even though the Genesis team is officially meeting (and I know they are truly being productive) it's been interesting to observe them and the other WorshipArts-ers interact. What might seem a bit unusual is that half of this interaction is happening...on Facebook.

One person was on Facebook, and then hacked into another person's account who is here. They made a humorous status, and then another student commented on it. I've also posted and interacted with them on Facebook here, too. It's very intriguing to see the Facebook World and the In-Real-Life World crossover; it has taken "passing notes" to a whole new level. 

It is incredible that this group is so tight knit and laid back, that one of them just referenced the post, and the other eight people are all in on the joke already, and they laughed along. Then almost immediately they have seamlessly integrated back into their topic, back on focus and on track.

Yes, to the traditional teacher, this certainly looks unproductive. But WorshipArts is successful in obtaining its goals, and in addition their community is so strong, loving, supportive, and fun! I don't completely understand Peter's model for the program, but I know it works, and it is blessed.

Who knows how social networking will continue to become a normal integrated part of communication? Though it could look like the kids were zoned out once in a while on Facebook, they were actually building their own community. What looked divisive, was actually strengthening and unifying. And how will social networks effect and change traditional teaching? I certainly don't know, but I'm excited to see the growth and evolution of communication!

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