RevGalBlogPals. In this community I have obtained practical advice, shared pain and gleaned wisdom. My perception is that, often, the value of online communities is under estimated. In a profession as isolating as ministry, however, such networks can be life giving.
More recently I have enjoyed connecting with others on Facebook. I refuse to become involved in Mafia Wars or Farmville or other such time consuming activities offered. But I do love snooping around, seeing what friends are up to, checking out their pictures and offering comments. However I see this as a very different kind of social networking and one that requires a lot more care and discretion. And it concerns me that there is often too much inappropriate information volunteered. Many younger folk do not see that as a problem and I accept that their way of connecting and interacting is different and is perfectly acceptable for them. However I do get concerned when colleagues post details that could be misconstrued or that demonstrate a lack of professionalism and are seemingly unaware of the very public nature of such a site.
Like all online communities, candour and discernment must be employed for our own protection as well as for the protection of those we serve.
I would be interested to know how others work out what is an appropriate level of sharing and the safety or otherwise of online communities.