Venturing into the world of Social media can be a challenging experience for Scouters. Recently a former member of one of our unit's Facebook groups and parent of a Scout posted critical, derogatory and slanderous comments about Scouting and about individual leaders within that group and on his personal Facebook profile. I was invited to join the group so that I could witness these comments.  In an unrelated incident a Scouter asked me to clarify how we might react to a known Scouter, in fact someone "in uniform" in their profile picture that routinely posts aggravating political postings on their Facebook profile. This BlogExternal Link entry from our Chief Scout Executive might help answer questions about Scouting's role in political dialog, both in person and in a social media setting.

I would encourage those with questions about how to navigate this new technology to review the BSA's Social Media GuidelinesExternal Link I would like to quote, however a few sections that are especially relevant to this instance.

"It is important to remember that all social media channels are, by nature, designed to be social, that is, shared with members of the public. As such, whatever social media activities you engage in should be completed with the understanding that the public will see them and may engage in an online dialogue with you as a result. You should not do anything on a social media channel that reflects poorly on you, other individuals in your council or unit, the Boy Scouts of America, or anyone else. Before posting any content on any social media channel, you should first ask yourself if that content is in keeping with the precepts of the Scout Oath and Law." ~ This individual, obviously, did not take this into consideration.

"If a user posts highly offensive content, the content should be removed immediately, and you may need to block or ban the user who posted it. Such an action should not be used liberally but only when content is truly objectionable." ~ I see that the individual has been removed from the group. I agree with that decision. I also agree that the original posting should be left. Individuals are, of course, free to respond with their personal opinion.

Finally, a personal note about the various Social media tools.  As the above referenced guidelines note, there should be a disclaimer posted on personal sites. I have posted the following on my personal Facebook page.  Generally, I try to separate my work/professional role from my personal/private life in the land of social media. I recognize, however, that even if a post is thought to be made privately, that it may not remain so. "Views, comments and postings made via Facebook are my personal views and should in no way be construed as representing my leadership position in the community. Public postings are posted and shared via LinkedIn and Twitter."

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