Today we had our meeting for worship and I spoke on Hospitality based in Romans 12:9-13. Afterward we did a our second “Internet Cafe,” something I made sure to name in a way that would signal my favorite things: the web, food and coffee. This is something we started a few months back as a fun way to learn about using the social web: we make sandwiches, I plug my macbook into our projector and we gather around and discuss using the web. The first time we did it we discussed our meeting’s blog, RSS feeds, and podcasts. I think it was good not only to help people understand some of the basics of the Web but we’ve seen our blog getting a pretty good amount of use as well, which I assume has something to do with learning how to use it.
For this week’s cafe we discussed facebook (or bookface if you’re Jim from The Office), what it is, how to use it, and how to use it for our church. I had a blast. Not only did we have a good turnout (at least 10 people showed up) but we ate well and had some great laughs. One gentleman brought a 24in. iMac to the meeting, another family brought a laptop, and others sat around with notebooks scribbling down things as I talked. There were folks there with facbeook accounts, and others who had never been on the site. One signed up while we were there and others left considering joining the site. (I don’t take myself to be a facebook evangelist, but I do “preach” the usefulness of social media.) People brought up very valid concerns about privacy, I shared my story about using only the first initials of our girls online and ways to control who sees what on facebook. Other questions were: What are these applications all about? What is Farmville [besides a time sink!]? By the end of the day people seemed to be pretty excited about the possibilities of using facebook to share their lives with others in and outside our church, and spread the word about what we’re doing as a Quaker meeting in Camas. For instance, during our we also realized that if you Google “peace Camas” that our meeting has the top 6 hits! I think people liked seeing that the web can be used to extend knowledge about what we’re doing and potentially help people find our meeting. I think the cafe went for 1.5 hours and it was a blast. Who knows what Internet Cafe #3 will be but we will definitely be doing it.