The Church of England has had its say on the rise of Twitter - by telling worshippers ‘the nine Commandments of social media’.
Clerics have asked Church of England staff to spread the word through Twitter, but make sure they don’t ‘tweet in an ungodly way’.
Churchgoers have been urged to ask themselves, ‘Would God like my tweet’, in a list of guidelines for spreading the word of God in the social media age.
The Diocese of Bath and Wells believes worshippers should preach the Christian message in a way God would be proud of.
They say church members should beware of the quickfire nature of social media, and not lose what it means to be Christian in the rush to be ‘liked’ or get retweeted.
Their first Commandment of social media reflects this: ‘Don’t rush in’.
Their instructions continue: ‘Before posting always think: Is this my story to share? Would I want my mum to read this? Would I want God to read this?’
The Diocese say church members should remember they are ambassadors, that they shouldn’t hide behind anonymity, and that their social media activity should stay within legal boundaries.
They add: ‘All are based on principals of common sense and good judgment,' the guidelines informed.
'Essentially, you should participate online in the same way as you would in any other public forums. Your actions should be consistent with your work and Christian values and you take responsibility for the things you do, say or write.
'Within our diocesan community, more and more people are using social media as part of their ministry.
'Social media is immediate, interactive, conversational and open-ended. This sets it apart from other forms of communication and demands a new way of thinking.’
The Church’s nine Commandments for social media are:
1. Don’t rush in
2. Remember updates are transient yet permanent
3. You’re an ambassador for the church
4. Don’t hide behind anonymity
5. Think about the blurring of public/private life boundaries
6. Safeguarding: communicating directly online is like meeting someone in private
7. Stay within the legal framework
8. Respect confidentiality
9. Be mindful of your own security