Monday, May 30, 2011

How will you use social networking whilst on WYD pilgrimage?

Recently I saw a number of Facebook posts from a friend that led me to have a certain view of the trip they were on.  When I spoke to this friend when they returned, they had a different opinion of the trip than that which appeared on Facebook.  When I asked them about the difference they responded “you had to be there to understand”.  The fact is I wasn’t there and I didn’t understand.

One of the hardest things about a WYD pilgrimage is knowing how to share the experience with others who aren’t with you.  With the development of social networking we have to understand how to share the pilgrimage as we travel along the pilgrimage as well as when we get home.  Here are a few tips for sharing your pilgrimage on any social network platform or blog:

  1. Stay positive:  each day has ups and downs whilst on pilgrimage yet people may not get that if you only post during the hard times.  Keep the posts or status updates positive.  If you want to share a hard experience share what you learnt from the experience instead of the negative details.
  2. Use pictures: they say a picture tells a thousand words so use pictures to share the experience.  Keep the pictures clean/suitable and ask for permission from the people in the picture.  One negative or harsh picture can do a lot of damage back home.
  3. If you “had to be there” don’t post it: people often tell funny stories from their trips overseas and end with “you had to be there”.  In reality the people back home aren’t there and may not find your experience funny.  So if you “had to be there” to understand what you are about to post then don’t post it.
  4. Spare us the details: many people back home want to stay in touch with what you are experiencing but they don’t want to read through all the fine details that even other pilgrims would find boring.  Keep your blog posts short (about 300-400 words) and focus on one event per post or status update.
  5. Under 18’s: remember that students under 18 should not have their pictures on your social networking unless you have their parents permission.  It is safer and easier to refrain from posting information about student who are on your pilgrimage and under 18.
  6. “What happens on tour …”: it is often said about rugby tours that what happens on tour stays on tour.  We hope that you will be proud of your behaviour when you get home and can share most things about yourself with everyone.  However it is important to keep the things you learn about other people confidential.  You can tell your story but let other people share their stories.  If you must share an experience that involves someone else then get their permission first.

Used correctly, social networking and blogs can help people to be able to share in the pilgrimage experience from their computer back home.  Your social networking and blogging habits can be a key part of evangelising this event.

Please post a comment

Thursday, May 26, 2011

8 uses for one piece of Material

Perhaps one of the most useful items to pack in your bag is a large piece of material.  One piece of material about 2metres by 2 metres; bigger than a towel but smaller than a bed sheet.  This could be the most practical item you in your daypack.  Here are eight uses for this piece of material:

  1. Ground sheet:  we know that there will be many venues where seats are not provided.  This piece of material could be a nice ground sheet for you and a friend.
  2. Blanket:  this won’t be the warmest blanket but we are not heading into a cold climate.  Most of us will pack for the heat and yet when it turns a bit cooler you can wrap this piece of material around you to be a little bit warmer.
  3. Sunshade: the sun will be the hardest thing to handle in the Spanish summer.  You can use this piece of material as a shade cover to reduce the risk of sunburn.
  4. Covering up in a church: you might like to wear singlets and short shorts but you won’t get into many churches.  In this situation you can use this piece of material as a dress to cover your knees or as a wrap to cover your shoulders.
  5. Cooling off: you might not be able to go for a swim so soak this material in water and damp down your neck, shoulders and forehead.
  6. Carrying things: you might visit the supermarket to buy something and they don’t sell bags, wrap the items in your piece of material like a swag.
  7. Bandage: you hope that there will be easy access to First aid but perhaps you need to stop some bleeding or bandage up a limb.
  8. Marking your turf: in a large crowd every spare centimetre of space will be taken.  Instead of saying that an area is take use your material to mark out your turf, allow room to stretch out.  This will be very helpful at the final sleep out.

You will be able to pick up a piece of material about 2 metres by 2 metres at your local material shop.  Look for a fabric that can take a bit of water, is durable and not too heavy.  Wash the piece of material before you go and you are ready for a multitude of situations.

Please leave a comment if you have another use for this piece of material.