Hi, Brent. Mission organizations are heavy users of various forms of social media, on an individual and organizational level. With personnel, offices, and supporters in multiple countries and time zones, social media makes sense. It has enormous advantages, but also significant dangers.
The law on social media is developing fast; some might say exploding out of control. Like many areas of employment law, what was designed for corporate area is not quite a perfect fit for religious organizations. In addition, religious liberties rights add an overlay that changes the application of these laws somewhat. Lastly, there are international law implications. From your perspective as a psychologist, these principles affect member care and healthy communication.
This means—and I can hear the collective groan—that mission organizations need a good social media policy, both to guide personnel and to avoid legal liability issues. The point of such a policy is not to stop communication, but to guide it in a way that’s spiritually sound, wise, and safe. (When I work on such a policy, my legal advice will be based on sound spiritual principles and practical considerations as well as legal best practices.) Organizations need these policies for clarity and getting everyone on the same page — especially in an area that is growing and changing and fraught with danger.
Let’s talk about a few of the principles organizations should address in their policies—bearing in mind as always that our casual comments are not legal or psychological advice. They are not intended to be comprehensive or situation-specific—just two friends chatting about principles and practice.
Featured image:"Social media networking icons logos" by Freerange stock.
Disclaimer: not official legal or psychological advice or opinion