Pastors and faith leaders are people of great influence and respect, responsible for creating a community and living by example for others. This applies to all spaces and all times and is often forgotten when they’re online online. Considering how so much of our modern lifestyle is based around the internet, it’s time to consider the impact of your online presence and reputation.
So many of us are used to acting on emotion or acting without thinking about repercussions while online. Unfortunately, our actions on the internet are immortalized not only in the eyes of the Lord but in digital form as well. We cannot run from our pasts. In order to stay true to what you preach, you need to consider what you are doing online.
Online Presence: Protecting Yourself
Let’s begin these tips with the most practical. Cybercrime exists and most cybercriminals don’t care about the good you are doing for the world. They only want your information and perhaps to use your reputation for evil. Falling victim to malicious hackers means they can gain access to sensitive accounts and impersonate you. This can have financial or emotional consequences.
You absolutely want people to be able to trust you. Make sure that you and your family are following the basics of internet security to avoid a problem arising in the form of malware or viruses. Also try to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) while away from your home or office, which prevents information from being stolen on public networks. This review by Secure Thoughts details some of the best available. Finally, just make sure that you are protecting your online accounts. Trusting people and putting faith in them is often your calling, but it is a huge and unnecessary risk when the internet is concerned.
Online Presence: Protecting Others
When responsible for an online presence, you also have to consider the safety of those who interact with you. Just like you’d never put your community members in danger in real life, it’s important to make sure you’re taking the steps to protect them online.
Try to make sure that you are aware of the potential mistakes of others as well. If someone is dealing with identity theft or other problems, it makes it more difficult for them to focus on the more important things in life.
Online Presence: Considering Influence
While the practical repercussions of not properly considering your online presence are important, there’s also a more metaphysical impact that needs to be discussed. As a leader and person of influence, everything you post online will affect the opinions and ideas of those you interact with.
Whenever you’re promoting an important message, making sure your digital words are congruent to what you say elsewhere in the world is essential. Always have a handle on who can see what you post and make sure you adapt to this appropriately.
Online Presence: Managing Emotions
One of the most difficult things about managing online behavior for someone who is in a position of influence is making considerations for human emotion. No matter who we are, people can get angry, judgmental and occasionally hurtful. While this is a burden and test shared by all people, posting online while in a state of stress can immortalize these feelings.
Consider the golden rule and consider how words might make you feel. It’s important to know when what you’re posting is a relevant and helpful message. Check out this handy infographic if you’re unsure whether something is appropriate to post or not.
If you have any more tips for properly considering your online presence, be sure to leave a comment below!
About the Author: Caroline is a freelance writer and blogger who is proud to share her love of technology and experience protecting people with such an amazing online community. She loves the internet despite its occasional flaws and hopes it is used to spread love and kindness across the world.