Third Spaces and CEF
Third Space is that space that is neither yours nor mine, but one where each of us comes in contact with the other, and each is allowed to feel at home.
One of the most common Third Spaces we know surround familiar brands. Starbucks is a place for encounters of long friends, and long-lost friends, not to mention making casual encounters where the “decaf, vanilla, mocha, latte, grande” becomes a person named James, who works at the record store down the street from your workplace, that you always pass, never went into, but have pined to discover what is inside.
Another Third Space is also known by its “space” – MySpace. MySpace is one of a number of communities online that act as Third Space meeting places, for the promotion of ideas, connections, sharing old and new friendships, exploring the world of online journals, or blogs, acquiring the latest in music, checking in with the pictures and life journey of your online acquaintance.
MySpace is a personal account designed to allow you to “befriend” others, including your favorite celebrities, favorite TV Shows or movies, bands, High School and college classmates, maybe even your children, mother or father. You can send messages to one another, create your own journal/blog, send comments to one another, stream music and video clips, get to know your friends better.
MySpace is not alone in the market for helping you cultivate your friendships, promote your favorite topics, or celebrate anniversaries and birthdays with helpful reminders. Other social networking Third Spaces are Facebook, Friendster and LiveJournal. Lately the Church has stepped in a created some spaces of their own, with the hope that content might be better moderated, or more specifically directed to creating Christian Community through sites like 7Villages, MyChurch and Xianz.
Christian Educators Fellowship has a commitment to helping people meet Christ where they are, and reaching out to the 7th Generation. As the spaces for social networking have changed, from the town square, to the local barbershop, to the Church, into the realm of Service Clubs (like Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis) and back to the “town square-type” venues of Starbucks and the local bar, developments like the internet have allowed Third Spaces to generate even around the world in a central location based on topics of common interest.
CEF 2008 has taken that step into cyberspace to help reach out through Third Spaces of our own by setting up a MySpace account for “Christian Fellowship”, whose picture looks remarkably like the CEF logo. Friends are gathering here, and by placing “Christian” in your “Top 8 Friends” your friends who check out your page are likely to know of and learn about CEF and our upcoming Conference. In honor of the founding of CEF in 1967 the website is:
But CEF 2008 did not end its entry into the world of Third Spaces with MySpace, but stepped forward into some other areas of connection. College Ministries and the connections we make with our UM Campus Ministry teams, and new Christian Educators has been an area of increased effort recently and Facebook is focused on the College Scene, though it has now been opened to anyone for membership. You must be a member of Facebook to check out the Facebook “CEF group” site, and in doing so you might find opportunity to catch up with those students who have graduated from your Sunday School Classes and gone on to Colleges and Universities across the Globe.
For those who have been marveling at what areas Google has expanded its initial foray into search engines the stretch has even entered the arena of Social Networking Third Spaces in the form of Orkut, where there is a group for “Christian Educators Fwp." Sometimes we have to adapt and in the case of Orkut the adaptation was made so that it would fit into their limited Community Name line space. For anyone with a gmail account or who would like to have almost 3G of email storage space for all those new friends you made through CEF, Orkut is part of the Google network, like Blogger.com and Google Maps.
Other sites are finding their way to the net, and if you have an idea of another social networking site you think would be of benefit to CEF 2008, let us know, by contacting David Camphouse (2008 Design Team) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of you have already heard about the Yahoo Group and I want to remind you to check in there for the most up-to-date reports about what is happening. You can sign up here for the CEF 2008 Yahoo Group.