Based on the experiences of Incluso and several additional activities with Social Software VJZ is continuing its work in that area. Currently 24 units have an own profile in Netlog and 10 units have additionally a profile on Facebook. Furthermore the trend that youngsters have additional to Netlog a Facebook account is still going on (June 2010).
Youth at risk use Social Network Sites almost only for fun, for communication with friends and for getting to know new friends. They usually do not want to get bothered by school like issues (such as the two experiments had been). Thus spare time activity offerings are the key for Open Youth Work to establish connection with their target group. More ambitious educational aims such as some selected for INCLUSO have to be pursued carefully and should not be too challenging for youth at risk. In case the fun factor is not considered well enough they tend to perceive it as too “school like” and refuse further communication.
The main benefit of the structure offered within INCLUSO was that the relationship to a lot of visitors could be strengthened; this benefit will only be partly long-term sustainable due to time resource reasons.
For VJZ’s work the major findings and conclusions for the near future are:
The whole area will be handled as an own specific type of youth work and the term “e-youth work” is introduced.
The approach is to follow the target groups on the Social Network Sites where they are and not try to bring them to a self-created platform (e.g. with “Ning").
Units will rather use own profiles on the networks than create groups or sites(on Facebook)
3-5 hours per week are minimum standard of activity that makes sense and keeps the profile alive. This time must be taken from the available resources meaning a change of work plans.
Further activities have to be reviewed carefully.
The e-youth work has to be highlighted both in qualitative reports but also in statistics; the adaption of the statistical reporting was highly important for the funders (Vienna Municipality).
At least one person per centre needs to be specialised and trained properly.
It is important to track the developments, therefore quarterly meetings of an “e-youth work” working group of several youth workers within VJZ are standard since January 2009
The development of an own “Code of Conduct” is requested.
Further research within that area is highly requested.