Jesse and I asked permission last year to set up a Facebook group for the musical so we could stay in touch with the company as needed. Permission was granted on the condition that we write strict instructions into the show's behavior contract about what students are allowed to post on there. My principal's caution is warranted - the ugly and extraordinarily harmful affects of cyber-bullying are well-documented and need to be guarded against. So Jesse and I added a few lines to the contract and set up a page.
And while last year's Facebook group was useful, it wasn't a major part of our process. Knowing that a big part of that was my own personal abhorrence of and intolerance for Facebook, this year I outsourced it. I appointed one of my senior girls "Facebook Queen" and created a blog where Rachel, Jesse, and I could post comments, helpful videos and links, and rehearsal notes without having to tread into Facebook. The Facebook Queen receives an email each time one of us posts on the blog, and she then copies the entire blog post to the musical's group page for the rest of the cast to see. It works because a) there are a few students who are parentally prohibited from using Facebook, so everyone has access and b) I don't have to use Facebook to communicate with the rest of the students.
Two nights ago I logged into Facebook to check out the group page in search of the trailer (which Rachel posted on her blog tonight). I was absolutely delighted with what I found there. Here, take a look:
For example, these are some of the comments made for one of the posts of post-rehearsal notes:
(By the way, I apologize now for my sloppy editing skills. I made a quick job of blurring student names and photos.)
But they don't just write when we ask them to. Here's a sample of some posts from the past few days:
They also use it to help each other out:
And I am a fan of this one in particular from about a month ago:
So here's the thing. I share these to dispel two ugly misconceptions that I hear all too frequently, especially in Relief Society:
1) The Internet (and Facebook) is not evil. It can be an incredible force for good. It can create awesome and decrease world suck, to paraphrase the Vlogbrothers. It can make my show better, and it can make lives better, even if it's in very small comments.
2) Teenagers are not evil. They can be an incredible force for good. They can create awesome and decrease world suck. They make this show, and they make my life better, even through very small comments.