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Social Media And Loss Of Control

When a church engages in Social Media, it loses control. I have made this point in numerous interviews about Social Media. If you are a leader or a church that values and insists on control of your message - then stay away from blogging, keep far from Twitter, and don't bother with Facebook.

Social Media isn't for you.

With Social Media you lose control because Social Media, by design, empowers the masses, it encourages conversation and allows a people to contribute and collaborate.

With the help of Social Media, people may post negative comments about the church, critique the pastor's sermon or post pictures and video that might be unflattering. Of course not much can be done when members of the church use social media that way...but how does a church respond when a staff person has a lapse in judgment and says or posts something on Facebook, Twitter or on their blog that causes consternation to the church and it's leaders?

It happens in the church and it's come with unfortunate consequences . I know a story about a youth pastor that got in trouble with the church elders because of something he posted on his blog - the incident led to his firing.

Does your church or ministry have any guidelines for employees and staff using social media?

How bad can it get when people using social media run amok? Check out these errors in judgment that happened in the marketplace with social media:

  1. Facebook Football Firing - In March 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles fired a part time employee for his Facebook status update regarding a player being let go by the team.
  2. Domino’s Disgusting YouTube Dilemma - In April 2009, Domino’s employees uploaded a video on YouTube showing disgusting actions they performed while
    preparing orders. The employees were quickly fired and later arrested.
  3. Terrible Twitter Post - During a trip to visit a major client, James Andrews, a vice president at a global public relations firm, posted an unflattering remark about Memphis, the hometown of his client.
(The above were collected by a study done by SelectMinds and who also produced an informative whitepaper on the topic (download here - and thanks for ChurchCrunch for bringing them to my attention).

People say and do stupid things all the time...the only problem with Social Media is that it gets broadcast to the world. But despite these extreme examples of when the use of Social Media goes terribly wrong - the "loss of control" for the church coming from Social Media, is actually a GOOD thing.

-Social Media breaks the idol of "control" and creates an organic environment that elevates people over programs.
-With Social Media, people in the pews contribute to the conversation.
-It promotes greater ownership within the congregation.
-Social Media creates a learning community where creativity is bred.
-It gives people a greater sense that they belong because their voice is heard.
-Social Media creates an avenue where church leadership can gauge the temperature of the congregation.


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