My tips on managing your personal Facebook account – how to hide certain things from certain people!

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Having a Facebook account as a clergy person and also as anyone else who works closely with the public is fraught with all sorts of etiquette and safety problems. I have a lot of teacher friends on Facebook that have recently changed their name to a nickname so that they can’t be easily found by parents wanting to cause trouble. Many clergy struggle with getting friend requests from parishioners – it feels mean to say ‘no’ to a friend request but we clergy also have a private life that we don’t necessarily want to share with everyone in church. Lots of people have different ways of dealing with this, here is what some people I know do:

  • Don’t be on Facebook at all
  • Never accept a friend request from a parishioner
  • Create two Facebook profiles – one for the vicar and one for the person behind closed doors

The problem with these, for me at least, is that you miss out from sharing what’s going on at church with a wide group of people (although I would of course recommend you have a Facebook page for your church). Also, Facebook can be a place where you can offer pastoral support and maybe only even find out that someone is struggling because they’ve posted something on Facebook (but said they were fine at the church door on Sunday). Running two profiles is quite fiddly and there is always the potential for mixing them up – although I know some people who find this the best way to deal with these dilemmas.

My solution is to use Friend Lists.

I have created a list of Friends that are people that I’m willing to be friends with on Facebook but with whom I don’t share everything. This way I can post things I’m happy for people to know about – such as a coffee morning at church, and hide things like a picture of me and my husband at an anniversary meal.

To create a new list:
  1. Go to Home when logged in to Facebook.
  2. Click Friend Lists under Explore on the left side of your News Feed.
  3. Click Create List.
  4. Enter a name for your list and the names of friends you’d like to add. Keep in mind you can add or remove friends from your lists at any time.
  5. Click Create.

Once you have done that, when you create a new post in Facebook, you can select the audience the post is to be shared with:

facebook friends list

So in this image above I have set this post to Friends except – the list called ‘Church Restricted’. So anyone on that list wouldn’t see that umpteenth post about how brilliant Game of Thrones was last night!

If you’re unsure if this has worked once you’ve set it up, you can at any time see what your Facebook profile looks like to the general public or to a specific person by clicking  on your profile page next to where it says ‘view activity log’ and then clicking on ‘view as’:

Facebook view as

Then it will take you to this page and you can view as the Public or as a specific person.

facebook view as public

This is really useful and helps you to see if you might have over-shared! You can always go back and remove particular posts – just click on the tiny v in the top right of any post to edit or remove a post or to change the audience:

Facebook edit

 

 

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Durham Diocese Clergy Summer Gathering – our twitter feed archived #csg14

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I have just got back from the Diocese of Durham’s annual Clergy Summer Gathering. It was a great few days doing the Leading your church into growth course, getting to know each other, praying together and some of us tweeted quite a lot!

Here is a summary of the activity on twitter which was via the hashtag #csg14:

 

Social Media for the Scared/Sacred – for Bradford Diocese – presentation and resources

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I had the pleasure of leading a workshop at Bradford Diocese today introducing the delights of social media to a group of clergy and lay people from the local area all keen to get their heads around new media. Bishop Nick Baines gave us a useful overview of how he uses social media and encouraged everyone to get involved with it.

One of the delegates, Mark Waddington, has written an excellent summary of what we discussed with some reflection on what it means for churches.

My presentation is here:

If this has whetted your appetite you might find these articles helpful:

My guide to Facebook for Churches

My guide to Twitter for Christians

How to build a following on Twitter

Choosing a blogging platform

If you’re interested in the interface between faith and social media I can recommend following the Big Bible blog where I, among others, write regular articles.

As ever, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like any support in this area, I’m happy to help.