Now that Bath Quakers have WordPress, Instagram and Twitter accounts we need social media guidelines.
As well as this blog Bath Quakers is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
These were approved Sunday 2 April, and we’re happy to share them for comment or improvement, and in case anyone else finds them a useful basis for their own work.
The indented quotations are from Quaker Advices & Queries.
Social media guidelines for Bath Quakers
How can we make the meeting a community in which each person is accepted and nurtured, and strangers are welcome?
The aim of Bath Quaker social media activity is to testify to faith in action and give a confident and welcoming face to the life of the Meeting. Social media are a powerful and low cost way to achieve this, to welcome people to events and Meetings and to share our events, activities and Ministry more widely. Properly done, they should contribute to the energy, confidence and life of the Local Meeting.
Do you uphold those who are acting under concern, even if their way is not yours?
Bath Quaker social media are for sharing information about Bath Quakers, relevant local events and examples of faith in action. They are not for sharing private opinions or commentary about events in general.
Faithfulness and sincerity in speaking, even very briefly, may open the way to fuller ministry from others. Beware of speaking predictably or too often
Social media is not a substitute for spoken Ministry or Meeting for Worship; nevertheless Quaker guidance on good practice in Ministry and the Advices and Queries more generally serve well as a basis for an approach to social media.
The focus is on local examples which are in keeping with stated Quaker testimonies, values and insights, Quaker work nationally and statements made by Friends House.
Regularly link local activity to core Quaker texts including Faith & Practice and Advices & Queries.
If you are unsure about the suitability of a post, seek advice from a few trusted Friends before posting.
Are you familiar enough with our church government to contribute to its disciplined process?
Avoid debate or lobbying on social media that would detract from or undermine our corporate decision making which is grounded in shared worship, trust and listening for divine guidance.
Do you give sufficient time to sharing with others in the meeting, both newcomers and long-time members, your understanding of worship, of service, and of commitment to the Society’s witness?
Maintain regular contact with Friends House over best social media practice; keep up to date with new guidance, and contribute where possible to emerging guidance.
In using photos take care not to use identifiable closeups without permission (especially with children). Wider group photos should be acceptable but it is courteous to check whether there is sensitivity
Place statements on each social media account which make it clear what their standing is eg “the [social medium] account of Quakers in Bath. Unless marked otherwise individuals speak Quakers speak for themselves, not on behalf of Bath Quakers”
Place clear linkages to other relevant sites eg “to hire the Meeting House click here; for news about Bath Quakers click here” linking to the relevant sites
Try to discern new growing points in social and economic life.
Try always to have a local Bath Quaker angle when referring to national news stories.
Make it clear that individual Quakers speak “as Quakers” and not “for Bath Quakers”. Only a properly produced Minute from a Local Meeting for Business – or if urgent a statement endorsed by Elders – can authorise a statement on behalf of Bath Quakers.
Are you honest and truthful in all you say and do?
Nothing actionable, potentially libellous, defamatory, insulting, prejudiced in any way, untruthful, harsh or provocative should be published on Bath Quaker social media.
External comments or replies on web sites must be moderated and approved before appearing on Bath Quaker web sites. Nothing actionable, prejudiced, vulgar or ad hominem should be approved. If necessary house rules on comments can be set out (but this is unlike to be necessary because very few people leave comments on web sites now).
Every social media post associated with Bath Quakers must have good grammar, accurate spelling and fact checking.
In what ways are you involved in the work of reconciliation between individuals, groups and nations?
Avoid public exchanges on social media that may fuel conflict or division. In situations of conflict between Friends within Meeting or between Meeting and another person/group, we seek reconciliation and justice by sensitive private communication.
Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language.
Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue.
Adherence to these guidelines should help avoid almost all foreseeable problems. If despite this any Friend has concerns about any statement or post on Bath Quakers social media they should in the first instance contact the Bath Quaker web site editor (currently William Heath) by email, phone or private social media. Remember posts can easily be adjusted or removed at short notice.
Live adventurously…Let your life speak.
Nothing in these guidelines should be interpreted as seeking to constrain Friends in Bath from speaking out or using social media as they think fit, as long they do not purport to do so on behalf of Bath Quakers.
Approved by Bath Meeting Elders in March 2017 and by the Local Meeting 2 April 2017.