Confidentiality and Communication in the Age of Social Media

Let’s pretend for a moment…

After a busy day, you sit down on your comfy couch , and eagerly log into Facebook. You’re ready for a little mindless surfing, and perhaps a turn or two of Words with Friends. You scroll down your news feed and notice a church friend’s status update:

Can anyone help me with something? There is a person I know who has the absolute worst purse in the world. The color is this awful, bland beige, and the style is completely out of date…it’s faux leather and suede and it has one of those hinge-type clasps on the top. It’s SO distracting. I just feel so bad for the girl who bought it…any suggestions??

You feel your face flush with embarrassment as you glance on the floor at your beige, faux  leather and suede bag.

*&^*&^*&^*&^*&^*&^*&^*^*&^

That would be so mortifying and hurtful, wouldn’t it?

Imagine if the friend weren’t talking about your purse, though. Imagine if she were talking about your child…

Can anyone help me? I have this kid in my Sunday School class who has the worst behavior…it’s so distracting.. He talks constantly about  things that are of no interest to any of the kids, and he doesn’t even realize it. I feel so bad for his mom…any suggestions?

{Oh, how I wish I could tell you these kinds of things don’t ever happen…but they do.}

Communication, now more than ever, takes careful, proactive planning. We’re constantly connected–wirelessly–to each other, and information spreads quickly. Please note that I didn’t say “truth spreads quickly.” The information that is shared online, through texts and, of course, in conversations can be forwarded and repeated hundreds of times before an error or miscommunication is caught. 

 In the next few posts, we’ll be talking about some social media strategies that facilitate communication for ministry teams while maintaining the dignity of children and families. We’ll also discuss ways to communicate proactively with parents so that they feel included in the problem-solving process.

For today, I have a simple acronym that very wisely promotes positive communication:

THINK before you speak…(or post or text or email…)

Before sharing information, ask yourself, is it…
T=True
H=Helpful
I=Important
N=Necessary
K=Kind

THINKing with you~
Katie

Stay tuned: Tomorrow…Weekly Wrap and Five Facts. Monday…Confidentiality Covenants

 

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5 thoughts on “Confidentiality and Communication in the Age of Social Media

  1. LOVE this, Katie! I think that too often, because we as churches don’t necessarily fall under HIPPA in our work, we don’t respect confidentiality. Almost a decade ago I heard a gentleman in disability ministry rightfully proclaim, “The church should lead the way, not be dragged into government standards kicking and screaming.” This common respect for others is just a piece of those standards!

  2. Pingback: Communication Breakdown…Doing Ministry Together Without Diagnostic Labels | Church4EveryChild

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