The social media world is a minefield just waiting to blow your leg clean off.
If we manage a social media platform for our church, there’s a blurry line between being seen as an organization and a buddy. Navigating that line is tough, especially when there are already so many social media traps we could fall into that are more on the creepy side.
So, in the spirit of the scary season, here’s a few things that that will appropriately creep your followers out.
Don’t Do These Creepy Things
Don’t Try to Follow/Interact after 10pm or before 6am.
Nothing good happens after 10pm. It’s late and definitely outside of business hours. Creepy. Just imagine if a car dealership or a restaurant tried to strike up a conversation with you on Facebook at 11:15 pm on a Monday? Not awesome. Remember, your church is still kind of a business to many people, an organization, not a buddy. You might be able to become a buddy, but until then, keep it between reasonable hours.
Don’t Post Cryptic Comments on their Photos
Sometimes what we might think of as mysterious or cute comes across as stalkerish and cryptic. Don’t ask random questions that your mom might ask because, remember, you know them but they may not know you. “Where are you guys at?” can be ok if it’s adults taking photos of a really cool sunset, but if the photo is of teenagers hanging out together, it feels a little creepy to ask that. If it looks like you’re trying to collect information on them, creepy. Also, never type “soon” with a knife emoji as a joke. They’ll call the cops.
If you happen to see questionable behavior on social (you will), it’s best to not leave cryptic and vague comments like “Hmmm” or the Thinking Face Emoji. They will wonder what you meant, maybe even ask, and then it could turn into something ugly. Think about it. If you’re a new Christian or non-believer, life probably still looks a little like it used to. You’re not going to want Captain Churchypants watching your every move. They’ll unfriend you if they feel our judgyness and we’ll lose the chance to reach them there.
Don’t Direct Message Minors
They probably will answer and think nothing of it, but their parents will be different. Don’t. It can wait. Especially if you yourself are a young pastor or single.
Don’t Promote a Series that You Clearly Stole w/o Permission
When you promote using a movie clip, there’s a strong chance you don’t have permission to do that. And they know it. Most people will enjoy it and really love your straight rip off of a popular TV show or love the fake interaction with beloved movie characters, so it will seem like a win, but it isn’t. In the back of your followers’ minds, they know you stole it, and that’s creepy.
Don’t Discuss Someone’s Appearance
One of the weirdest things to me is if a church were to comment on how someone looks. Maybe a beloved member has posted a beautiful picture of herself in a sundress. Everything is clean and it’s not inappropriate, but everyone is telling her how beautiful she is. The church can’t say “You’re so pretty!” You might get away with “Beautiful photo,” or just the heart emoji, but I probably wouldn’t risk it. Just like the photo and move on.
Same goes for pastors who want to post a photo of their spouse and then proceed to talk about how “hot” or “attractive” they are. Ugh. We’re glad you’re keeping the Holy fires a’burnin, but save it for the bedroom, kids. Nobody wants to see mom and dad kiss. And while we’re talking about it, we could stand to have less to zero of that in the live sermons too. So creepy.
Non-Creepy Things You Can Do
You CAN and SHOULD interact with your followers though. So how do you do that now that you’re really scared properly?
Love this! Glad you’re here! Thank you for serving! Anything that could be pure encouragement would be great. Keep these short. It’s when you get specific that it can easily veer off into a creepy ditch.
So obvious, it hurts. But it’s a safe way to have fun and still counts. People will appreciate your levity, especially if it’s a safe dad joke. These are still risky, however, so make sure that it fits in the voice and tone of your church that you want online.
Agree with Comments
We think that too! Couldn’t have said it better! Just be careful that you fully understand what you’re agreeing with first and avoid agreeing with anything politically charged. When someone says, “Pastor Jeff is really great!” That’s a great opportunity to jump in and respond with “We love Jeff too! He’s really good at hacky sack and saying ‘dude’ fluently!” That’s easy stuff.
If in Doubt, Use Emojis
Sometimes you know you need to respond, whether for the algorithm or because you just feel compelled, but you have nothing really to say. Use an emoji. Heart, thumbs up, smiley face, smiley face cry-laughing, and Fire emoji are some of my favorites. Sometimes, when I make a dad joke, I use the smiley with halo. It let’s the unfunny people know that this is not a sentence to be offended by, and even if you still don’t like it, don’t @ me.
What else is creepy behavior on social media? Let us know in the comments!