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18 Ways to Ruin Your Reputation on Facebook

12. Don’t act like the language/morality police.

Your Facebook friends are not perfect. They are going to swear, post questionable pictures of themselves and share things you don’t agree with. If something is really bad, consider contacting the person privately about it, but don’t call people out publicly for what is unfortunately common behavior in our culture.

13. Don’t roll out the fire and brimstone.

I don’t know if preaching about sin and hell worked with past generations, but it’s not going to put you in a position to influence people on Facebook. People on Facebook respond much more favorably to hope and love.

14. Don’t be overly political.

It’s OK to take stands on key issues, but unless you want to irk half your church and close the door to half the people in your community (not to mention risk losing your nonprofit status), don’t tow a party line.

15. Don’t engage people in debates.

Online (and offline) debates rarely cause anyone to shift their position on an issue. Discussion is great, but if things get heated or personal, it’s time to lighten up.

The disengaged things to avoid to not ruin your reputation on Facebook …

16. Don’t post a lot of theological stuff that’s over your friends’ heads.

It’s great for pastors to engage their Facebook friends in spiritual conversations, but avoid posting your doctoral thesis. It’s not going to engage anyone and will put people off.

17. Don’t log in once every week or two. Relationships require consistency.

You can take breaks, go on vacation and don’t need to be on Facebook every day, but you’ve got to be regular if you’re going to build relationships in Facebook.

18. Don’t fail to respond.

When people send you messages, post to your timeline or comment on your status updates and links, it’s important to respond. Answer people’s questions. Thank people for their insight and stories.

What things have you seen people do to hurt their reputation on Facebook?

What would you caution pastors against doing? 

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Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, and a husband, father of 3, and a prolific blogger.