When I was young girl in Egypt, certain commercial jingles were so well known we used to sing them like pop songs. They were catchy so that we always remembered them- they formulated a brand. Combined with a catchy tune with simple lyrics and you had a hit on your hands.
I still remember 3 by heart: an ad for running shoes, one for a coconut chocolate bar and one for non-stick pans (don’t ask, I will never understand how my memory works). As a consumer, I was naturally drawn to these products as I had an affinity to their jingles. I recognized them, they were familiar to me.
The marketing world is constantly evolving but certain principles have always proven successful: the catchy jingles, commercials that play on your heartstrings or evoke nostalgia, and star power.
Star power. Also known as brand ambassadors.
How many running shoes are sold thanks to top athletes in their fields (Air Jordan anyone?).
There was a point in time where a product was assured success if it was affiliated to a certain actor/singer/athlete provided that no personal scandal erupted to dethrone the star in question.
The corporate world is no different than the world of marketing when it comes to its image. Any large-scale corporation has a certain brand and image it wants to protect (even copyright) and it will go to great lengths to ensure no one infringes on its image, including its employees.
It is commonplace for employees to agree to a code of conduct and ethics when accepting a new job and to renew their agreement/attestation on an annual basis.
Companies quickly (and at great cost sometimes) realized that the way their employees interacted on social media could gravely harm their reputation: would you do business with a company whose employees tweeted/posted/shared racist or misogynist content?
Employees have two choices: either to disassociate themselves from their company’s brand (they don’t mention their place of employment anywhere on their social media profiles) or they faithfully adhere to their company’s social media policy.
The social media policies of most companies have certain elements in common:
- Never speak negatively of the company (a given).
- Never speak negatively of management or management practices.
- Never disclose insider company information.
- Never engage in bullying behaviour (no foul language, no name calling).
- Remain respectful at all times.
- Never post, share, condone content that would be deemed racist, violent, discriminatory, fundamentalist, misogynist.
Employees never question this policy, they simply adhere to it or they risk losing their jobs.
Why don’t Christians adhere to the same principles? We are the brand ambassadors for our Lord and Saviour. We are the brand ambassadors for Christianity at large.
How we behave, debate, engage on social media speaks volumes and reflects on all of us.
When we don’t adhere to Christian Social Media policy, we risk losing souls!!
Let that sink in for a moment.
How I behave on social media might make someone close the door on Christ, for good.
A popular internet meme (and one of my favorites) says:
You might be the only Bible that someone reads.
Concretely, if we were to establish best practices for Christian interaction on Social Media, they would might look like this:
- Never speak negatively of the Faith (dogmatic questions should not be debated on Facebook; theological debates will not be settled on Twitter).
- Refrain from speak negatively of the Clergy (except in cases of abuse- immediately report abuse to the proper authorities and contact law enforcement). However, if you disagree with an opinion, attitude or political stance of a member of the clergy, there is no need to report these debates on social media. If there are legitimate issues that need to be addressed, escalate them through the proper channels in your diocese.
- Refrain from disclosing inner tensions, struggles, divisions at your church/parish – this is neither edifying nor conducive to finding a solution.
- Never engage in bullying behaviour, no foul language, no name calling.
- Remain respectful at all times. Never post, share, condone content that would be deemed racist, violent, discriminatory, fundamentalist, misogynist.
- Refrain from criticizing/judging other religions, beliefs, faiths and ideologies.
I leave you with these verses from the Bible for us to reflect upon:
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity”. 1 Timothy 4:12
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6
“Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Titus 2: 6-8
This article is part of a series. It is the result of three Christian authors who turned to one another for comfort after yet another massacre targeting Coptic Christians in Egypt, and the divisions they witnessed on Social Media following these horrific events. To read the rest of the articles, please visit: Healing in the face of pain https://beingincommunity.com/healing-in-the-face-of-pain/ by Phoebe Farag Mikhail
and How to give your priest feedback http://www.copticdadandmom.com/how-to-give-your-priest-feedback/ by Laura Philopatir.
Mirelle Mishriky is the author of the popular Christian children’s series Philo And the SuperHolies and blogs on https://www.mirellemishriky.com