Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ethics drive social media, like it or not

Yesterday I was asked to begin to help a local church to develop its social media guidelines for members to follow. It'll be an interesting project.

My first thought is that it will prove a really clear indication of what the church members really believe. If I say it's wrong to drive above the speed limit, but often drive too fast, then what I really believe is shown by what I do, not by what I say.

Just in the same way, if we pay lip service to principles like "speaking the truth in love" but then use social media to spread gossip, or make accusations about others, then we are displaying a credibility gap; what's normally called a breakdown in integrity.

We have to look for principles to follow because the technology changes too often for rules to work for long.

Many schools, companies and other organisations have a social media policy in place, and have sanctions available to help to enforce them. But in a voluntary community such sanctions aren't appropriate, or available. What to do about what can only be social media guidelines?