So your meeting has decided to have a presence on social media. Now what?
In developing our own policies for both the New England Yearly Meeting, and my own monthly meeting, a few key concerns rose around this. How we thought about handling these concerns became our social media policy (in this case, for Facebook).
Here’s a few basic questions to consider:
- WHAT will we post/share/create/promote?
- WHO will post/comment/share?
- HOW OFTEN shall we post?
- HOW shall we handle difficult/concerning interactions and posts?
This relates to your meeting’s message. What kinds of posts will help visitors and seekers know more about your meeting’s culture?
- Bible quotations
- Educational stories about Quakers
- Links to your website features
- Photos of witness events and actions
- Questions to engage in conversation (How was meeting today? Ask a Quaker?)
** A note for sharing: Make sure you are following the good practice of permissions. Posting names and photos of minors, members of meeting, scenes of worship can be problematic. Are you following good copyright law? Permissions for copyright free photos?
Posting permissions! This can vary widely. Facebook allows you to limit who posts, what kind of posts, even can filter out certain words. Juts letting everyone post might confuse your message. Only asking one person to post might mean posts are too infrequent – or too one-sided in view. Think about a mix of messages from a few folks. If there are Friends in your meeting who might like to share, but are not on FB or do not need/want posting permissions – can you develop a channel or contact so they may share as well?
We currently have a small handful of administrators on our page (monthly meeting and Yearly Meeting). Others have permission to edit mistakes, block users if need, and maintain the page overall (less of a time committment)
This of course can vary widely. For Facebook – a few posts a day will keep your site current, and it will look like you have an active meeting (which of course you do!). Facebook page posts are designed to appear in users’ newsfeeds in different ways – encourage folks to “like” your page and “follow” your posts and comment on them! You might want to use an automatic posting service like Hootsuite of Buffer to post at preplanned intervals. But not completely automate your page! Respond in a timely way to local news events, concerns in your area, and concerns and ministries of Friends in your meeting. If a seeker looks at your page, what will they learn about your meeting? This might be their first time becoming aware of you – and you want them to come back not just to a page, but of course visit in person!
HOW shall we handle conflict:
This of course will vary per incident. However, discussing in advance some basic concerns and scenarios among Friends in your meeting might be helpful. Social media happens “in the moment” – and it can be a blessed, rich and deep conversation as well as problematic. Facebook gives you the option of many levels of “eldering” – blocking a person entirely, sending them a private message, asking them to share their concerns in a more helpful form. You cannot season each individual concern and comment – but you can empower Friends as administrators who hold the gifts of eldering, and speaking Truth in Love to hold this charge. You will make mistakes. But much like you might handle a controversial message in worship, or an inappropriate behavior in person, your meeting can also respond here in kind.
Her are two basic examples of a social media policy. You will note they are both somewhat different – they are written to respond to the concerns of our particular monthly meeting, and our Yearly Meeting. Our monthly meeting policy will be reviewed in 6 months, and is under the care of our outreach working group. Our Yearly Meeting policy is under the care of YM secretary with input from various organizational channels. At the moment, both of these only consider Facebook. Our Yearly Meeting also is on Instagram and Twitter, and we are formalizing channels for those policies as well.