Before allowing personnel, students, staff, volunteers, etc. access to a public social media profile, or to become a blogger or online representative of your organization, it is a good idea to have a general social media policy, and to instruct everyone in its use.

Many Archdioceses and Catholic organizations (including the USCCB) are starting to develop their own social media policies and guidelines, taking into account the need for online evangelization, the need for privacy, and the need for propriety in online relationships (especially with youth/minors).

Your social media policies should take into account:

  • The fact that Pope Benedict XVI has called all members of the Church to proclaim the Gospel to the 'digital continent,' especially via social media, blogs, and websites.
  • The need for people to relate to each other online in a very personal manner.
  • The need to protect trade secrets, privacy, and personal information.
  • The ability for people to post new information, pictures, and media from anywhere, any time.
  • The importance of the guidance of the Holy Spirit in online evangelization.
  • The fact that technologies and online communications are changing at a rapid pace.

Any policy that you create should be more of a 'living' document, meaning that it is meant to change and morph over time as new communications technologies are invented, old methods of communication change or go away, and interpersonal relationships change.

There is a blog post on OSC with further reading and notes on the USCCB's Social Media Guidelines. You can discuss social media guidelines in our forum, in this topic on Social Media Guidelines/Policies.