The USCCB recently released a working draft of their social media guidelines, after receiving input from a variety of diocesan personnel. The draft includes general principles for social media use, a call to the development of diocesan-level policies, and quoted exhortations for proclaiming the Word online from Pope Benedict.
Here are some excerpts (my notes/highlights in bold):
Social media are the fastest growing form of communication in the United States, especially among youth and young adults. Our Church cannot ignore it, but at the same time we must engage social media in a manner that is safe, responsible, and civil.
To keep members, a social networking site, such as a blog, needs to have new content on a regular basis. In the case of social media, the axiom “build it and they will come” is not applicable. It is important to set internal expectations regarding how often posts will be made [very good advice!], so that your followers can become accustomed to your schedule.
- Define appropriate boundaries for communications.
- Include examples of Codes of Conduct.
- Provide recommendations on how to deal with difficult “fans.” [This is a biggie].
They also include instructions for networking with minors, personal websites, and how to report and monitor social networks. Read the whole document on the USCCB website »
A very good first stab at this ever-changing field of policy/law!