I actually struggled to find the Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) page on Facebook. Being a Facebook absolute beginner I found all sorts of other ministries, mostly run by fundamentalist christians, before I arrived at DCM’s page.
When I got there I found a very short description of what DCM do, an advert for the upcoming bookfair on 1 September, a few photos and links to friends of DCM (currently 7 people) and related groups.
Launching the Facebook page David Cross, the Ministry’s Events and Communications Coordinator, wrote in DCM’s 8th August email bulletin that an aim of Downtown Community Ministry is to create a more inclusive world, including the online environment obviously.
“Sites like Facebook show how interconnected our lives are. They effectively map our social and professional relationships. However, they also demonstrate the exclusion that society permits” David says.
DCM’s primary work is finding solutions to social issues and providing practical grassroots support to people in need. Fortunately not everyone needs to sign-up to Facebook to get help, though David is encouraging people who support their work to join.
At the moment I’m not sure if I’ll become a DCM Facebook friend, because I really think I should add something to my profile before I do. Also I’ve got a strong sense of reluctance doing this at the moment. It’s not only the time that it will take that puts me off, but it’s actually because I don’t know how much I want to share of myself with complete strangers.
Some people have obviously poured out their hearts. A few of the profiles I had a quick look at are long, with lists of hobbies, relationships and schools, full virtual bookshelfs, and maps of where people have travelled. Plus there are links to friends, who anyone can be nosy about, and comments (sometimes witty).
Scanning the list of DCM friends I see a Richard Davis listed. I’m wondering if he is the same person who was webmaster extrodinaire for the Churches Agency on Social Issues and the Presbyterian Church. I haven’t heard from him for several years, and I could now be back in touch with him at the click of a button.
This is perhaps one of the types of interconnection that David Cross is talking about. Thanks to DCM for opening my eves to the world of social networking, even if I keep on the sidelines, for now.