Jamie Jean Schneider Domm
Digital Strategist for the North American Division.
A checklist for cleaning up your digital influence to avoid embarrassing situations and misunderstandings
Many of this blog’s readers are church employees with a potentially large digital influence. What you do with that influence matters. We’ve all made mistakes communicating online, but it’s never too late to start fresh by conducting a personal social media audit. Below is a checklist to help you evaluate your social media profiles and identify areas of potential change or improvement. Whether you have four friends or four thousand, as disciples we must strive to reflect Christ always, drawing others to His life-saving truths and love. We cannot do this effectively when our words or actions send mixed or divisive messages.
Social media is public by nature and has blurred the lines between a person’s work life and personal life. No matter how high your privacy settings are, your activity is always public at some level. As representatives of a faith group, your individual accounts are no longer just personal. This can be a positive thing. Each of us are called to be disciples, and this includes reaching the digital mission field. I believe that God is calling a generation of youth to the digital mission field, but, to be effective, we must begin by setting boundaries with ourselves.
I encourage you to read through these questions carefully and make any necessary changes to your social media profiles. This may include removing old posts and pictures. In extreme situations, deleting accounts may be necessary.
Personal social media audit checklist:
☐ Do you list your employer or ministry on your social media profiles?
☐ Are you taking the necessary precautions to protect you and your loved ones’ personal information?
In summary, if you are unsure whether or not to share or write something online, err on the safe side and simply don’t post it. It is likely that you have friends who are not Christians or who may be struggling with their faith. Don’t be another reason for them to leave their Church. Find ways to use your digital influence to encourage others and share your faith in positive ways.
If you are forgetful or ignore the guidelines above, there are a few things that could happen.
A special note to employers and supervisors:
In regard to an employee sharing their personal life on their social media profiles, “offenses” must be evaluated on whether the content or behavior is in clear violation of Church doctrine, and it is not to be gauged by individual preferences or interpretation. Behavior on social media prior to conversion or a re-commitment to the faith should not be used against an employee who is now a member of the Church in good standing.
On a personal note, I converted in my early 20s from atheism. I have since lived as a committed Adventist for over 10 years. Until I did a personal social media audit, if you dug far enough back in my post history, you’d find images of me drinking wine and eating unclean meats, because this is what many non-Adventist Italians are culturally raised to do. At the time, I did not know that there was a Biblical way of living healthier. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent”: Acts 17:30.
This was prior to my conversion and my commitment to the health principles, and I think it’s important that we understand that personal social media often captures snapshots at different points of an individual’s spiritual journey. Given the gospel of grace, these snapshots should not be held against a person years after conversion and seasons of dedicated service. By removing old content that does not reflect who we have become, we can prevent it from sending mixed messages to those we witness to online or providing fuel to those who seek to find fault.
Download this social media audit checklist to print and share.
Learn more about how your personal social media can affect the gospel:
2/25/2019 02:22:47 am
I am a member of the Trans Orange Conference (TOC) in South Africa, SAU and SID. I am a member of the Executive Committee and part of a subcomittee tasked with writing a social media policy for the Conference
1/23/2020 03:15:35 pm
Jamie, I appreciate the thorough presentation of social media impact and personal responsibility you so clearly and kindly communicated in this article. I found it so helpful. Your brief testimony was a bonus and a helpful example. Thanks for all you do to encourage us to be digital blessings!
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