This protocol has been written as a result of the exponential growth in use of e-media including blogs, social networking sites, web-based email services and text messaging. It is deliberately all-encompassing and readers must be aware that the document refers to all electronic means of communications including text messaging and the distribution of images. All communication, including social media, is covered by libel law.
Introduction & Context
In the Diocese of Guildford, social media and networking websites have become a regular part of everyday life, with many people enjoying membership of social media sites. We are also aware that these sites can become a negative forum for complaining or gossiping and care must be taken not to breach our confidentiality policy or offend anyone when using these services.
Online collaboration platforms are fundamentally changing the way clergy and paid employees work and engage with each other, clients and partners. Social media is interactive, conversational and open-ended.
Statements on social media
- The Diocese of Guildford is exploring how online discourse through social networking can empower the clergy, parishioners and paid employees of the Diocese of Guildford as global professionals, innovators and citizens. These individual interactions represent a new model: not mass communications, but masses of communicators. Through these interactions, the Diocese of Guildford’s greatest asset, the expertise of its people can be shared with the wider world.
- Social media is faster, cheaper and arguably more widely available than traditional media but our understanding of confidentiality, responsibility and Christian witness must remain the same.
- It is very much in the interest of the Diocese of Guildford and arguably the wider Church to be aware of and participate in this sphere of information, interaction and idea exchange.
- The Diocese of Guildford regards blogs and other forms of online discourse as primarily a form of communication and relationship among individuals. When the Diocese wishes to communicate publicly as an entity, whether internally or externally, we have a well established means to do so. Only those officially designated by the Diocese of Guildford or the Bishop of Guildford have the authorization to speak on behalf of the Diocese.
- The Diocese of Guildford trusts and expects paid employees and members of the clergy alike to exercise personal responsibility whenever they participate in social media. This includes not violating the trust of those with whom they are engaging. Neither paid employees nor clergy should use these media for covert marketing or public relations.
- If you have any confusion about whether you ought to publish something online, please either refer to this document or ask the Communications department, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Notwithstanding the above, it is important that proper boundaries are established and clearly understood.
The Diocese of Guildford's Social Media Policy is available below.
For further help or advice...
If you need any advice or guidance on any aspect of social media, including how to set up and run a Twitter or Facebook account for your parish or church group, please contact the Comms Team: