Back around 2013, I made a very difficult decision related to social media – and specifically related to Facebook. I was still in the Ordination process in The United Methodist Church and was seeing importance in establishing clear and specific boundaries between my personal life and my professional life.
The difficult decision I made at that point was to no longer “friend” church members and instead create a Facebook page for my professional (i.e. public) profile. I doing so, I would not “unfriend” anyone with whom I was already “friends,” but that this would be a change going forward. I could still be contacted through the network, but it was a little less personal.
On a side note, I only chose to do this on Facebook. Social networks like Twitter and Instagram are networks where anyone can follow anyone, so my tweets and Instagram posts are already more filtered.
For a while this seemed to work well. Even after a new appointment and a cross-country move, I maintained this boundary and got exactly what I expected: less personal connection.
I’ve found the problem to be that separation works both ways. While I have maintained personal privacy, I have also been kept from some of the things that have been important in the lives of those that I serve. I’ve been delayed in hearing news about illnesses, job changes, and even a tragic death.
And so after some extensive and prayerful reflection, I’ve decided to make a change. I will shift the boundary to enable more open communication. I will do so carefully and with good guidance. A friend and colleague wrote a blog post that has helped me come to some clarity and see a new way forward that – I hope – will offer an effective and fruitful balance.
I’m happy to re-evaluate, I’m happy to learn new things, and I’m happy to make a change when it’s warranted. I have followed good and helpful guidance in a prayerful way, and now – with the understanding that God continues to speak and to guide – I’m exploring a change.