As we look at church social media policy, I’d like to share a pertinent personal experience. I’ve been on staff at my church since 2006, and in that time, I’ve been fairly engaged in social media. No big deal, right? Then, 2016 happened, and everything changed. I don’t like President Trump. I think he’s crass, narcissistic, and erratic. Feel free to disagree with me—that’s the benefit to living in a free, democratic society—I can have opinions you don’t like, and it won’t affect you at all. But there have been times when I expressed my opinions about the president poorly, and I offended some of my friends.
Social media has become such a normal part of life that it is almost weird when you’re not on it. This applies to both churches and organizations as individuals. There’s an expectation that, even in limited terms, it is a way to contact and connect with you. The novelty has worn off, and more people and organizations are reconsidering use of social media. Reasons vary. From mental health to giving energy to more core activities. For these and other activities, people and organizations quit social media and delete their accounts. Before doing that there are things to consider before deleting social media accounts.
I’ve held off on writing this series for several months, for two reasons. First, I’m in grad school, and I’m writing my thesis right now. It’s taking up all of my extra brain space, but today, I need a break. Second, I recently made a huge mistake on social media—which we’ll come back to in the second post—and I wanted there to be some space between my mistake and my (hopefully not hypocritical) attempts to offering insight and advice on this site. It’s been almost five months since then, so I think we’re ready to begin talking about why your church needs a social media policy.
With so many social media platforms, there are plenty of places where people can say whatever they want to say. They can talk about their life, they can vent, they can celebrate— put simply, they can share their opinions, about anything. And the same goes for the people reading the opinions of others; they can respond with whatever they want to. The problem is when this interaction is negative, or hurtful.
To post, or not to post — that is the question!
Do you mentally “check yourself” before posting on social media?
Do you think about how others will respond to what you share?
If you are a church communications team member or have for any reason needed to create a Facebook ad, you have probably run into an issue at some point with getting your content seen on Facebook. In fact, we know that Facebook limits the visibility of your Facebook posts, whether as an individual or a business. It’s in their interest to do so because their primary source of income is advertisements, both to sell ads on Facebook and sell your information to third-party clients.
As an interesting side note, there is this trend going around that if you copy/paste a troll meme on Facebook, it will give you more visibility to your friends because you state in the post you decline to agree to Facebook’s algorithm. It got so bad Facebook had to actually respond to it.