Social media has transformed the way we receive information. While we used to wait for the morning newspaper to land on our front doorstep to get the news of the day, now information is accessible 24/7.
Definitions of social media demonstrate its immediate and interactive nature:
"Social media are a collection of online platforms and tools that people use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives, and media itself, facilitating conversations and interactions online between groups of people."
-Doreen Moran, Digital and Social Marketing
"Social media are platforms for interaction and relationships."
-Ted McConnell, Procter & Gamble Co.
Social media are digital content and interaction that is created by and between people.
-Sam Decker, Mass Relevance
As social media tools and platforms continue to evolve and expand, it will further integrate into our personal and professional lives. Therefore, it is important we consider healthy guidelines when using social media in our personal and professional lives:
Understand public versus private
Social media, by its very definition is a public forum. There is no privacy in social media, even with the use of security settings.
Consider these questions
What do social media mean to a faith community?
Gather information and people resources to use social media effectively in your context.
What is the purpose of social media in your context?
Think about your goals and how social media can be used as a tool for your ministry. Will you use it for pastoral care, evangelism, communication, to build relationships?
Think before you post
Some questions to consider before posting on a social media platform:
- Will I stand by my posting?
- In 30 minutes, how will I feel about my post?
- Can I stand before my congregation and/or peers and defend my post?
- How might my posting be perceived?
- Have I considered issues of confidentiality?
Tend to issues of security
Check your privacy and security settings (but keep in mind that everything you post is public). In addition, remember to update anti-malware software and to watch for spam on your wall.
A reminder about healthy boundaries
Understand the need to carefully tend to issues of healthy boundaries in “friending” and interacting with congregational members/peers…past, present, and future. Leave taking should not create a hindrance as the congregation/individuals respond to God’s mission in a new time.