We love that our volunteers are on Twitter and Facebook! It seems like everyone is enjoying the benefits of social networking these days – so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your volunteers are interested or already involved for sure. Most use the technology to their groups’ benefit, though from time to time we’ve had to have conversations and consider removing volunteers for what they put online. At our training this week I’m going to ask our leaders to apply these three simple guidelines when updating social networks:
Remember what you post is public. Here’s the big deal – a joke that is funny between a few friends might not be funny at all out of context or in the harsh light of public view. Remember that everything you post—picture, status update or essay—becomes completely public the second you click Submit. You can never really take it back once it’s out there, so be wise and use discernment with everything you post.
Remember what you post influences students. Your students are checking out your profile. They look up to you. They are eager to make a connection with you, and since they’re always on Facebook, they’ll almost always see what you post. But it is so much more than just seeing; what you say, what you value, what you show yourself doing…it all influences students—the good, bad, and ugly. When you give an inch, they may take it a mile. Of course, it works the other way as well: When you use social media positively, it can have a significant encouraging influence on them, too.
Remember what you post is a reflection on your student ministry/church. Your character and faith is reflected in every post that you make, so if you are doubtful about something, here’s a simple rule to follow: DON’T POST IT. Just like behavior on a youth ministry trip is a reflection on the church and student ministry, know that what you post adds or detracts to the reputation of the church and ministry…and ultimately Christ.