This Social Media Policy applies to all online and mobile platforms for sharing content and information, whether controlled by Holy Trinity or hosted by others, on which members of the Holy Trinity community engage in discussions or activities relating to Holy Trinity Catholic Church or Holy Trinity School. The term “social media” refers to social networking services, blogs, short-message services, message boards, wikis, podcasts, image- and video-sharing sites, and other methods for real-time information sharing among users. Because this is a constantly evolving area, this policy applies to all new social media platforms whether or not they are specifically mentioned in this policy.
1. Core values. In areas where this policy does not provide a direct answer for how members of our community should answer social-media questions, members should use their best judgment and take the most thoughtful and prudent action possible, bearing in mind Holy Trinity’s need to preserve accountability for the use of its name in all social media and the core values of this policy:
• Be selective – there are a variety of digital platforms available. Use the right medium for your message – a blog or social network might not be the right place for messages intended only for a small group, and email or other more targeted media might be best.
• Be responsible – social media are individual interactions, not official parish communications. Members of the Holy Trinity community are personally responsible for the content they publish. Official statements of parish policy may only be made by the Pastor or his designee.
• Be smart – a blog or community post is often visible to the entire world, and can be shared by others in ways that you cannot control. Remember that what you write is public, and will remain public for a very long time (perhaps permanently). Be respectful to our community.
• Be identified – authenticity and transparency are driving forces behind social media. Use real identities to the greatest extent possible rather than anonymous posts and comments.
• Respect the privacy of others – do not publish the personal information of others in the community without their permission or, in the case of children under 13, written permission of their parents. This is particularly important in the school community, in which some parents do not wish their children’s personal information and images to be shared online.
• Be respectful – Holy Trinity is a thoughtful and prayerful community that encourages free expression and values civil debate. If you disagree with others, do so with civility. Respect your audience, express your views with appropriate language, and be respectful of the Church and its teachings.
• Be trustworthy – respect the confidentiality of matters that are shared with you in confidence, or that are meant to be kept confidential by the nature of your work, ministry or volunteer mission.
2. Use of Official Name and Logo. Any use of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church or Holy Trinity School name or logo for branding or titling pages, blogs, or other similar elements of social media must be approved in writing prior to use. Requests for prior consent to use such names or logos should be made to the Communications Director (in the case of the parish) and the Principal (in the case of the school). Permission to use the name or logo of the parish or school may be revoked at any time in the sole discretion of Holy Trinity. This policy, however, should fully preserve free expression. It should not, for example, be interpreted to limit the ability of members of the Holy Trinity community from using the name of Holy Trinity to identify themselves in profiles, discuss matters relating to Holy Trinity, or other similar uses.
3. Duties of Owners and Moderators. Moderators of official Holy Trinity social media are responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy. All comment and response areas should be moderated if possible and consistent with the goal of the forum. Leaders responsible for such areas should review and approve comments prior to posting, and should not post any comments that do not meet our standards for civility, misrepresent the position of the parish or the Church, or that include profanity, defamatory language or speech that is otherwise inappropriate or off-topic. In an unmoderated forum, leaders should delete any comments or content that does not meet the standards of this policy as expeditiously as possible. Anonymous comments should be avoided except in circumstances where anonymous or pseudonymous speech is essential to the protection of the identities of the vulnerable. All moderation functions should reserve the right to ban repeat offenders. Moderators who permit users to post materials such as documents or photographs should make clear to users that the site will not archive those materials or be responsible for preserving them.
4. Individual Judgment. Even when engaging in social media for personal use, the comments of a member of the Holy Trinity community may be viewed as a reflection on Holy Trinity. Users should use their best judgment when engaging in social media activities and should be on guard against actions and discussions that could harm the interests of our community.
5. Transparency. Users’ social media communications are made in their personal capacity and not on behalf of Holy Trinity. Statements made by members of the Holy Trinity community should not be taken as expressing the formal position of Holy Trinity unless the speaker is specifically authorized to do so by the Pastor or the Pastor’s designee.
6. Copyright Laws. Users must comply fully with copyright law when posting and uploading materials. Any posting of materials to official Holy Trinity social media must be limited to materials in which the copyright is owned by the party seeking to post the information, or in which the owner has consented to the sharing of the materials. Images and other materials from the Holy Trinity parish or school websites shall not be copied and uploaded to other forums without the prior written consent of the Communications Director. This policy should not be construed to limit discussion of matters using the Holy Trinity name, and it should not be interpreted to limit users’ ability to link to Holy Trinity sites.
8. Children. Any site operated by Holy Trinity that is directed toward youth between the ages of 13 and 18 should be designed to limit access to authorized members, and leaders of such sites should take steps to ensure that unauthorized users will not have access to the site (by use of password protection or similar methods, if available). Registration for such a site must require the use of a legal name and valid contact information, such as an operational email address. Users of such a site may not post images of children under 13 without the prior consent of a parent or legal guardian of any minor depicted.
9. If You See It, Say It. Any use of social media that does not comply with this policy should be brought to the attention of the Communications Director immediately at email@example.com.
10. Questions and Updates. This policy was drafted by the Holy Trinity Communications Committee in collaboration with the parish staff, and approved by the Pastor. Questions concerning the policy should be directed to the Communications Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. This policy may be updated and modified at any time. Users will be apprised of changes in this policy by our posting this policy on the Holy Trinity website at www.trinity.org.
Approved July 14, 2010; updated March 1, 2013