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experiences with FB, twitter, or other social networking

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I am contemplating moving into the social networking arena for our troop with a Facebook group, twitter account, some other social networking vehicle or all of the above. I am interested in the pitfalls, do's and don'ts that other troops/crews have encountered. Ultimately, I'd like the youth webmaster (not yet implemented in our troop) to moderate / oversee.

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I haven't done it yet with my troop, and I don't plan to either. There are too many risk factors with social networking at this point.


The boys might think it's the coolest thing since sliced cheese, and all the hubbub about generations and etc says we're supposed to cater to their whims, but there comes a time when the adults need to look at the big picture instead of just the "ooh, shiny!"


Most of the kids are probably on the social networking anyway, but even still, I'd handle this carefully. I make a rule of not friending my students or Scouts in order to maintain boundaries.


There are other methods of distributing information. A basic website with calendar and troop policies and procedures will cover most regular things. Having patrol and troop phone chains can handle any urgent messages.


Yes, I'm 33 and I'm already acting like an old codger. Trying to get my boys to understand that outdoors means unplug the electronics and notice the nature that God created for us.

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These comments are drawn mostly from my experience with Facebook.



1. A member can easily upload content and after some involved configuration, access to that content can be controlled mostly by restricting it to invited "friends".

2. It's hip or cool, whatever. Great for meeting new people, even those in your high school who normally would not talk to you :)

3. For older kids, Venturers and Explorers, this is probably a more useful recruiting tool than an open-house.



1. Unless content is public, all that want access must become a member of that social network. Some parents will not allow Facebook accounts and I can't blame them.

2. Facebook can change their service and rules any time they want. Anyone can create a Facebook account. No one checks the age or identity. So my son could create a Facebook account and I would have NO control over it. Sure I can create a "controlled" account, but once I give him the password, he can change the controls or he could just create a new account unknown to me. Now my son would not do this, but you get the idea.

3. With these so-called controls, many are under the false impression that what happens on Facebook stays on Facebook. It's the internet dude!!!

4. You can invite "friends" but you can't control them or filter their content. Social networks encourage people to tell/show their interests so they can link with others of similar interests and thus build a network of so-called "friends". So we had Eagle Scouts with links to Playboy, parents with links to nevermind...and all had some bizarre friends. What do you do? Do you monitor all troop member Facebook accounts for inappropriate content or do you suggest that troop members not identify themselves as such or as scouts on Facebook. BTW, those Eagles did not identify themselves as either troop members or scouts though they did state their name and high school - DUDES. It can become a headache that you don't need. Also you still need to communicate with your members who are not on Facebook.

5. Like video games which BTW are included, it can become a huge time sink particularly for young people who should be doing homework, etc. That said, Facebook, etc. can be very effective in quickly and easily getting information out to your large "network of friends" aka your troop.



Would I use Facebook for a troop? No, most boy scouts are too young. For older kids say in an Explorer Post or Venture Crew, I could see using a social network but setup some controls and usage policies first. Try impressing upon them that colleges and employers view these sites as well as creeps. The internet can be a permanent record of your stupidity, so do not use any real information like your name, address, phone #, main e-mail account...


My $0.01




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I would have to agree with many of the previous things about Facebook. If your troop creates a Facebook account and you publicize it, the scouts that are not yet thirteen may want to see the content therefore creating an account. Anyone under thirteen years of age are not allowed to send personal information over the internet, including signing up for social networking accounts.


Now twitter I believe is a great idea. You do not have to have an account to view twitter feeds, anyone can see them. This may mean not posting things such as names, but it can be worked around.


Twitter yes, FB no...If you have a website for your troop, that could solve many of the problems though. Keep the site up to date, add a set of fourms or an RSS feed that people can subscribe to and post the updates there, or have a password protected section for more personal things.


That's what I think...

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