Church Social Media Policies: An Academic Paper

Here it is, the final paper for a Communication course last semester on technology and media.  Its title: When the Pastor’s Study Moves to Cyberspace: An Examination of Ecclesial Social Media Policies.

As I posted previously on this blog and at Christian Century blogs, there really aren’t many church social media policies out there as of the close of 2010.  I’m willing to bet this will change because, unsolicited, I keep discussing questions with colleagues like: Should pastors have two Facebook accounts (one personal, one churchy)? How can our church have a safe online presence with youth?  When a pastor leaves a congregation, should she “unfriend” members?

So here’s a paper that looks at some of those questions, both with my pastor lens and the lens of a communication scholar.  You can get a preview of the paper below or to download see the information in the “update” section below.  As of now, it’s not published elsewhere but I’m up for giving that a shot — feel free to send me comments or suggestions.

There’s no place for thanks in APA format, but I would like to thank blog commenters and others who have helped me think through such questions.  Especially, the writing of Bruce Reyes-Chow, Carol Howard Merrit, Justin Wise, danah boyd, and Landon Whitsitt.

Update: If the version below doesn’t work for you, click here for a pdf: When the Pastor’s Study Moves to Cyberspace, alternatively it’s also on Google Docs.


  1. Adam – Would love to read this but the download’s not working for me. Might be because I’m running Linux, who knows. Can you email the file to me? emmy [dot] kegler [at] gmail [dot] com.

  2. Am i missing the download button and the preview?

    Ii also would like an email copy of it!


  3. Thanks for the GDocs link, Adam. Excited to read it!

  4. Hey Emmy and Dan, I’ve added a Google Docs link. It’s not as pretty, but I hope it works for you. I’m having trouble with how wordpress deals with .pdf files. Hope that works.

  5. Nicely done – I had seen 3 of the 4 docs… enjoyed seeing how you evaluated each.


  6. Wendy A F G Stengel says:

    Has this been published in a journal yet? I’m getting together my annotated bibliography and want to make sure I have the best possible citation for you.



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