Church comms manager taken aback by "nine commandments" front page

A comms manager at the diocese of Bath and Wells has expressed surprise at the scale of media interest in a list of social media guidelines she drew up.

Social enthusiast: The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is a keen Twitter user
Social enthusiast: The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is a keen Twitter user

The advice, which included checking "would I want God to read this?" before tweeting, was widely dubbed the "Nine Commandments" by the media, led by The Daily Telegraph and including the BBC and the Huffington Post. The newspaper put the story on its front page under the headline "Bless me father, I have tweeted a right stinker".

Gillian Buzzard, a comms manager at the Church of England diocese, said she had not used the phrase in her document and was surprised that the guidelines, which she described as "common sense", attracted so much interest.

The best practice document, aimed at clergy and other church workers, begins with the command "don’t rush in", encouraging people to ask themselves "would I want God to read this [tweet] or would I want this on the front page of a newspaper?".

Buzzard said: "These good practice guidelines have been compiled to help clergy, office-holders and staff, who already use the social media and are online ambassadors for their local parish, the wider Church and our Christian faith.

"Reaction has been very positive and many have said they are more confident now when using social media. The guidelines will be updated as the need arises."

Other dioceses that have recently drawn up similar guidelines include Carlisle and Bristol.

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