I had the opportunity to host a dual birthday for two popular 16yr old girls and 50 of their friends, from diverse ethnic backgrounds recently. It was enlightening.
The party had plenty of advance planning and I was able to follow the evolution of the idea, the planning and the execution through to the post party confab.
The overall theme is really sharing.
One girl was originally having her own party, and her friend, living in a small apartment, was unable to host her own.
Simple - share. Despite the fact that they were from different ethnic groups and backgrounds and neither knew the majority of each other's friends.
Enter the internet and social networking. The planning.
Talk, discuss a plan and a theme. Share ideas. Ask everyone to add their favourite party music to the playlist. Music is of course the fundamental requirement for any party so it is at the top of the list. People are added to the guest list and their music
is added to the playlist. The
music sharing didn't require a single internet download.
Everyone is contributing, and knows that they will hear their favourite music at the party. They have also connected by contributing, and received acknowledgment of their value and choice of music. They are on the guest list and their music is on the play
The core group quickly arrives at a theme. They are girls, so dress-up is the order of the day isn't it?
This is where the internet plays a part. Looking at other people's social networking sites and seeing what works. Costume parties always work if the majority participate. Fancy dress.
More social networking to spread the word and discuss who's wearing what. Plenty of time to exchange ideas and make sure you don't commit the faux pas of coming as someone else's clone, it's too easy for comparisons. Better to be original, and their social
networking provides an easy way to do that. First you know who not to come as, and you can get plenty of other ideas if your first choice is already taken.
Social networking ensures that everyone who is coming knows the plot and is part of it.
Dress-up. The internet is amazingly useful if you want a costume. Three separate purchases from different corners of the earth contribute to one of the girls outfits. Whether $20 or $200 you can find what suits your circumstances easily.
Hosting the party is the easy part. Your socially networking, list buidling girls have a pretty good handle on what the want for the party.
A safe space.
A loud sound system they can plug their music players and phones into, a few lights, some sensible food and drink for costume wearing eaters, a few activities and they'll do the rest. They did. While some of the outfits were a little too hot for my camera
and some parents liking, the behaviour was exemplary.
The social networking had created a sense of community between the guests, and those who hadn't met had chatted or followed the progress together on the internet, so when they arrived at the party, none of them were strangers. Most of them left as friends.
The resulting party went of without a hitch and everyone had a great time.
It was an excellent education in how to use the internet and social networking for planning, research, purchasing, communications, risk management, customer relations and feedback.
Sharing is a theme not limited to music among teenagers. I have included a little link here to a presentation by some teenage boys which could be described as sharing and using technology to overcome environmental threats. It's called the story of the
Three Little Pigs.
As the host, I had only one stipulation, the address was not to be communicated via the internet. If a guest couldn't be told in person they were to be told by mobile on the understanding that only the hostesses were allowed to tell anyone where the party
We did have well trained black clad security and closed circuit TV of course, but neither were required because of the sharing and social networking. The mirrors got more of a workout, so make sure you have plenty of those.