By Jeffry Cadorette, past RI director and chair of Rotary International’s Communications Committee
Most of us have social media accounts that we use to promote Rotary. In our network are Rotary friends, but also family, friends, and colleagues outside of Rotary. This is all very good.
Many of our profile banners include a stamp that says “Proud Member” or “End Polio Now” along with our mark of excellence, the Rotary logo. We have photos of club events we attended (from the time when we could attend events in person). Our posts go to both members and those outside the Rotary family.
What could be wrong with that?
Unfortunately, on more occasions than I’d like to admit, I have seen posts come across my smartphone or laptop from a member who has resigned from their club and is airing a list of “dirty laundry” about their club in the form of gripes and complaints. They are right and their erstwhile club is in the wrong. They chose this forum to wage battle with their club president, district governor, or Rotary International leadership.
In all of these examples, our brand, and the public’s understanding of who we are, is tarnished.
Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of people who decide to take their ball and go home, tearing down an organization behind them on their way out. That is just ego.
A similar problem occurs when we use our social media accounts, the same ones with all of our Rotary branding on it, to share our deep-seated political views on divisive subjects. These posts are followed by endless comments which all too often spiral into something downright ugly.
Rotary is supposed to be apolitical. But to both our Rotary friends and those on the outside, that line is blurred as they see these posts and the ensuing comment threads, and our brand can suffer.
I am not suggesting trampling on anyone’s right to free speech. But I am simply asking that you use some discretion and judgement when you choose to post your political opinions from the same account that you use to promote Rotary.
We have 1.2 million brand ambassadors in our organization. You are one of them. We need each of you and all of you to promote and protect our brand and increase the public’s awareness and understanding of us.
So please use good judgment when you post on social media. We have an incredible communications team on staff in Evanston and Rotary Public Image Coordinators (RPIC’s) to help you.
Visit the Brand Center for tools and resources that will help you promote Rotary on social media. Know that your efforts are greatly appreciated.