Communications Policy

Social media often present the first image of our congregation to newcomers, questioners, and visitors.  We must be mindful of how we present our congregation through these social media channels when posting and publishing under the WFUU name.  All communication we send out must abide by our  Covenant of Right Relations and support our Mission and Covenant.  These should always be on our mind as we communicate under the WFUU name: we are not speaking for ourselves; we are speaking as the congregation. We must lead by example.

  •  If there is a post from a member or visitor that you feel violates our Covenant of Right Relations, bring it to the attention of another officer.  If they concur it is a violation of the Covenant, delete the comment or post in question and send a private message bringing attention to the Covenant, and informing the commenter that repeat offenses will lead to being banned.
  • Stay away from posts dealing with Social Justice issues unless it is initially posted by the UUA or Standing on the Side of Love campaign.  When we post something as WFUU, it comes across as the official stance of the congregation.  If we haven’t yet taken a stance on an issue, you need to get approval before posting on our website.   If any member posts something on social justice issues on our official communication tools, be clear that “this represents the opinions of this individual, not the congregation” and moderate their posts to make sure they are in accordance with our Covenant of Right Relations.
  • No posts or comments advertising private businesses or political candidates are allowed under any circumstances using official congregational accounts.  Events or posts from partner nonprofits we have worked with or which further our mission are acceptable unless those events or posts conflict with any other policy.
  • Before any posting that has a picture or image of a child, we must have a parental waiver.
  • If a child or youth from our congregation ever posts something that is alarming, implies abuse or suicidal thoughts, immediately bring the post to the attention of the Chair of the Committee on Ministry.
  • All social media outlets need to be updated regularly, preferably daily, with relevant content.  Content should look professional and be free from typos and grammatical errors.
  • All words, pictures, videos, music, and any other media must either be the original work of the poster or copyright laws and appropriate attribution must be followed.

Any changes made to themes, profile pictures, color schemes, or layouts must be approved by the Secretary-Treasurer, who is ultimately responsible for communication.

Web Site and Blog

Our website and blog, West Fork Unitarian Universalists, is currently our primary means of communication with members, friends, prospective visitors and the general public.  People may subscribe to the blog posts by email or RSS, so it  serves as our newsletter.  Blog posts are also pushed to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.  Those media all refer back to the website for further information.

Services and other events from the weekly update  should be created on the Google Calendar.  Services and meetings for business are scheduled there as repeating events, but should be updated with specific topics, speakers, and agendas. Anyone using an ICS calendar, including Google Calendar, iCalendar, and some Android apps, can subscribe to that calendar.  It is is publicly viewable on the web and embedded on the website and on Facebook.

Blog posts serve two purposes:

  1. Community building, inspiration, and announcements for current members and friends
  2. Outreach and connection to greater community and denomination

Regular posts must be made addressing each of these areas, at least several posts a week.  No more than six posts should be made on a single day unless there are extenuating circumstances.  We want posts frequent enough to maintain presence and interest, but we don’t want to flood our fans’ newsfeeds.  The greatest cause of unfollowing, according to research, is bursts of posts.  We also want to maintain spontaneity, and not have completely predictable posts at certain times.

Posts other than announcements and news about WFUU should be inspirational or informative about UU beliefs and practice, and should generally come from UU sources or be by or about UUs.   People follow sources which are informative, and posts all about the poster (whether it is a person or an organization) are another large cause of unfollowing.  Posts on the inner workings of our congregation, clusters, district, region, UUA, or UUism and liberal religion should be posted to West Fork UU Members | Google Groups (or shared with individuals who might be interested.)

It is both common and popular to post inspirational quotes.  Make sure all quotes are attributed.

Every post must have one and only one of these categories:

Announcements
Inspiration
News
Services
UU How-Tos

Also use tags for each post, including Bridgeport WV, Clarksburg WV, unitarian universalism, West Virginia, and a selection specific to the post.  See the Twitter section for Twitter tags, which should be put in the custom message section of Publicize.  Google+ constructs tags from the content.

WordPress, unlike Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, allows posts to be scheduled.  Check for recent posts and scheduled posts, and schedule posts for later if there are already several.  The posts will then go out on the blog and all the social media together at the scheduled time.

WordPress also allows posting by email, with html formatting, delayed posting, customized publication to other services, and the ability to keep the post private so it can be reviewed and published later.  This is especially useful for posting links, quotes, and pictures.

Linking, liking, and following to some extent implies endorsement of the content.   On the blog, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, we have chosen to link to, like, or follow only denomination-wide pages, district-wide pages, interfaith partners and selected other local organizations, other congregations in the region, groups within our congregation, news organizations, and selected UU pages and bloggers, mostly ministers.

Be sure when liking or following from your personal accounts that you don’t accidentally like it from a WFUU account.

Do not comment on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter as WestForkUU.  Leave comments as “WFUU” only on our posts, and only if the comment concerns official information about our congregation or UUism, not opinion.  Follow-up comments must be relevant to the initial post or comment, provide accurate information, and have a calm, nonviolent tone.  If there is a discussion that forms over a post, do not participate in or elevate any kind of argument under the WFUU name.

If people ask questions or start discussions about larger issues,  UU practice or beliefs, or other topics that go beyond local, provide links to an appropriate UUA site, other UU congregations, Facebook pages, Google+ communities, Twitter feeds, and the like.

The static pages provide:

  1. Information for visitors and newcomers
  2. Information for members and friends, including bylaws, mission, covenant, policy, procedure, and minutes, and useful links to other sources of information

Unlike blog posts, static pages are not publicized to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.  They are intended to provide permanent information for people to access as needed.

Notes on Specific Media

Facebook

Unlike other social media platforms, if someone goes to our Facebook page, they will see posts we have not directly approved.  Other people can post to the Facebook wall under their own names, although this does not show up in the Facebook feed of our followers.  Therefore, Facebook is the main social media platform where we will need to moderate posts.  When anyone posts to the West Fork UU wall, an email is sent to the westforkuu@gmail.com account.  Monitor these emails and posts on a daily basis – if something is posted that violates our Covenant of Right Relations, act immediately.

Twitter

Twitter is much more of a conversational medium and more instantaneous than Facebook.  Unlike Facebook where a one-shot post approach works, twitter often involves multiple tweets back and forth.  Therefore, more regular attention needs to be paid to twitter for follow up replies and direct messages.  Twitter replies are emailed to westforkuus+twitter@gmail.com and go into the Twitter folder in our main account, which should be checked frequently.

Feel free to retweet messages from community partners, UUA programs, other congregations but only if they align with this policy.

Be extra careful to post from @WestForkUUs and not your personal account.  If you do accidentally post a personal tweet through @WestForkUUs, delete it immediately.

Make sure all twitter conversations are relevant to our mission.  Do not get pulled into heated theological arguments or political rhetoric.

Don’t follow everyone who follows us – many are spammers.  Follow back other UU congregations and organizations and community organizations in our area.

Use tags as often as possible, especially #clarksburgwv, #bridgeportwv, and #UU

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s