Protect yourself on social media

Following the launch of our latest guidance we spoke to Stuart Haynes, Director of Communications.

Barely a day passes when there isn’t a story in the press about the perils of using Facebook and Twitter. Many celebrities, politicians and clergy have landed themselves in trouble because of incautious comments made in a public forum. So we have launched a guide to help clergy and church leaders make sure they don’t fall into the obvious traps.

Director of Communications, Stuart Haynes explains more.

“It’s about recognising that we’re public figures and what we say is noted and matters” explained Stuart, “that linked to the way the internet can spread information far beyond our intentions means we have to be careful over what we write.”

The guidance, Protecting yourself on social media was issued a couple of weeks ago. Focussing on Facebook and Twitter it gives some easy to follow advice to make sure that a comment you post doesn’t end up as a national scandal.

There have been some notorious cases – not least the Bishop of Willesden - where what he assumed might be a private comment amongst friends led to his temporary suspension” commented Stuart “but it’s not just about the high profile cases. An incautious comment on facebook about parish life can cause no end of local bother. We hope our guidance offers simple, sensible, practical tips to avoid this.

“we know the pressures of ministry and church leadership and we know that people need and want a safe place to let off steam. Our message is don’t assume that online, no matter how secure the group may seem, is that safe place.”

The brief document also covers areas such a photographs, sending comments to public forums and touches on the issue of Safeguarding. But we will be issuing more guidance on keeping safe communications with vulnerable and young people in the next few weeks.

“People have different opinions about the use of online media” concludes Stuart “there are benefits but we all have to remember that it is a public, permanent forum and we want all our church leaders to use it responsibly and wisely".

For more help and advice

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