Promoting a Cause Through Social Networking (page 2)

Promoting a Cause Through Social Networking

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Updated on May 16, 2009

Well-maintained group and organization pages are updated several times a week. Your teen shouldn’t bombard members with too many messages, event invitations, updates, or “wall” posts, however, and should respect members’ privacy. (She should never republish private information about another student on the page’s wall, like a phone number or school schedule.) It’s also her job to monitor discussions and comments. If two members of a political activist club disagree about campaign advertising tactics and their comment thread becomes derogatory, your teen must address this interaction – or look to an adult mentor for assistance.

Staying Safe

Parents are wary of Facebook despite measures to improve safety. “Most adults did not grow up with the Internet and social networking sites, so the technological world teens live in can seem like a mystery,” writes Bay Area student activist Julia Ransohoff. “Many adults think such websites can be dangerous. For the most part, Facebook can be a safe way to stay connected as long as teens take special care to control their privacy.”

Your teen must have a personal profile to create a group or organization page. Fortunately, this individual profile can be “private,” accessible only to friends in his regional or school networks. A Facebook group can be closed to non-members.

It’s a wise idea to designate an adult facilitator for such a project, such as an older sibling, college-level mentor, high school alum, teacher, or parent. An alternative is a member of a more established group on Facebook rallying for the same cause. If your son is a local D.A.R.E. volunteer and seeks a moderator, he may find a volunteer in the “Say No To Drugs” group, for example, which has more than 12,000 members.

Whether your teen is passionate about the earth, the arts, or animals, Facebook can be an outlet to get her voice heard and mobilize peers. And, with guidance from you, her teachers, or inspiring activists, she’ll be able to use its technology to make a statement.

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