Launched in Feb 2004 as a social network for Harvard students and alum, Facebook now has more than 400 million active users (current Facebook statistics). Facebook and other social media have become more popular a destination than email. (Telegraph UK report of the Neilsen Interactive study released Mar. 09). Since September 2006, anyone over the age of 13 with a valid e-mail address (and not residing in one of the countries where it is banned) can become a Facebook user. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, and school or college. The website's name stems from the colloquial name of books given at the start of the academic year by university administrations in the US with the intention of helping students to get to know each other better (more from the Wikipedia definition).

Using Facebook in Ministry

The Diocese on Facebook

As of June 19, 2012, known Facebook pages and groups are:

The Typical Facebook user

Facebook maintains this page of statistics about users.
Facebook keeps a collection of stories by users about what Facebook means to them. The list can be filtered by topics, including religion.

Groups v. Pages

Facebook evolves its structure and privacy rules frequently, staying current can feel overwhelming. Facebook began as a closed community. In order to see personal pages, and their author's photos and notes, you needed to be both a Facebook member and a "friend" of the author. A person requested "friend" status to see your personal page and associated files. Initially, "Groups" were ways for circles of Facebook users who were not "friends" to share information with one another. "Events" were invitations for your "friends" or your invitees' friends to indicate their attendance at a real world or virtual gathering.

In Nov. 07, Facebook introduced "Pages." Pages were viewable to non-members.Pages were also seen as a way for businesses and organizations to interact with Facebook members.

Today, Groups can be private, invitation only, apply for membership rom group organizer, or public. They are ways to share information with more control in how the group organizer reaches members. Groups have a size limit of 5000. Many churches use groups for youth ministry, Bible or lectionary discussion groups, or other ministry groups. Pages are a public face for a church, posts from Pages appear on users' "walls."