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Leadership and Social Media
by Tom Goodman
September 26, 2014

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As leaders we know (or should know) that social media gives us a larger platform to influence others.  But it can also give us a larger platform on which to stumble miserably.  To help us avoid those stumbles, I'm passing along to you some "don'ts" that James Emery White recently posted for his ministry leaders.

Don't post anything that could potentially undermine your reputation or the church's reputation for Christ-like character.  Whether you're on staff or a volunteer, you are never off-duty as a representative of this church.  Never.  Even online.  Think twice before linking to a popular video or favoriting a website that has sketchy material.  Be careful about how you, um, display your exercise of Christian freedoms.  (Some alcohol-related posts make me wonder if I should send a cab.)  When you share your political convictions, do so in a respectful way.  Avoid the temptation to add to the inflammatory snark that passes for social discourse.  "When you post something," White warned, "you are putting it out for public consumption.  Make sure it won't cause indigestion."

Don't post anything that would potentially undermine the maturity and gravitas accompanying your leadership role.  White wrote, "If you are a leader, people WILL Google you, search you, find you on Twitter and Facebook... and then make an evaluation.  Does your online presence support your leadership role, or undermine it?  Does it breed confidence in you as a teacher, as someone who is wise and mature?"

Don't retweet from, or link to, any person or source you are not absolutely 100% willing to endorse.  Before you retweet or share a quote you think is funny or thought-provoking, be sure you support other things the author or organization believes, too.  Why?  Because those you influence will surely assume you do.

Don't overdo it.  It undermines your leadership in the eyes of the average busy person who wonders why you're not working very hard.  And besides, if you're constantly posting, it's likely you're not giving enough thought to what you want to say.  "Too much talk leads to sin.  Be sensible and keep your mouth shut" (Proverbs 10:19, NLT).

You're a leader, so leverage social media as just one more effective tool to influence others.  But you're a leader, so think twice about how you're posting on your never-off-duty time.


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