The Rev. Christine Robinson, senior minister at the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, N.Mex., has written on her blog, iMinister, and on her Facebook page about the ways that Facebook can be useful to ministers. Lay leaders will also find the information helpful.
She notes that “friending” one’s minister on Facebook is different from being a friend of the minister. “Facebook friendship is to real friendship what coffee hour is to an encounter group. Facebook is a way of keeping in touch, briefly and pleasantly, with aspects of people’s lives in one sentence, one picture, one ‘read this that I’ve linked to’ bites.”
Robinson also explains ways ministers (and by extension lay people) can keep Facebook from becoming a “time sink,” including “hiding” people who continually post trivia. One can also click “like” to acknowledge a post, rather than writing a response.
She notes: “Like all new technologies, Facebook has a learning curve. This one is a little less user-friendly to newbies than, say, Google products are. Be patient with yourself, and ask questions of your Facebook friends. After you’ve learned, Facebook is much more manageable and much more fun than email.”
Beyond Robinson’s comments, it is worth noting that lay leaders can use Facebook to maintain relationships with other lay leaders and leaders in other congregations. And since many congregations have Facebook “fan” pages, one can become a fan of other churches and learn about their programs and practices. Facebook can also be a tool to expose nonchurch friends to Unitarian Universalism in a nonthreatening way.
To find InterConnections on Facebook visit facebook.com/InterConnections.
Update: The Rev. Cynthia Landrum offers advice on her blog, Rev. Cyn, about the value in creating different “friend groups” on Facebook (and how to do this) to separate people from the various parts of life––work, church, high school, etc. (3.31.10)