Our Twitter & Facebook Policies

Did you know we have Twitter feeds and a Facebook page? Our Facebook page is here, our Twitter is here, and Scarleteens Speak, our under-25-only virtual soapbox is here. We're glad to have social networking tools outside the website itself. But in order for those tools to work with all of what we do and how we do it, we need some ground rules, protocols and limits.

We typically use those tools to promote content on the site or news about the organization, share outside links with users and supporters relevant to teen and young adult sexuality, sexual health, relationships and other issues that relate to and inform what we do, and to newtwork with other educators and allies in the field. STSpeaks is used only to share the voices and thoughts of young people under 25 directly on that feed or at our message boards. That feed does not do any outside link-sharing nor issue any personal replies or individual responses. These tools, however happy we are to have them and useful they can be, are one of our lowest priorities as an organization.

Our first priority is serving our teen and young adult users directly. That means providing and prioritizing direct services like our boards, text service and advice columns, as well as any in-person outreach. We need to always be working on the main site, creating new articles or updating older ones and managing all of the other parts of the site's content and function. Then we've got to keep up with the business of running the organization as a whole, like volunteer management, media outreach and communication and other administrative work. All of that is a lot of work, and we're in the rare position of having a small organization when it comes to staff and budget but a large organization in terms of how many people we serve. To give you an idea of the volume we manage, our website has around the same level of traffic as Planned Parenthood's site, but with far more direct service, and only a teeny fraction of a fraction of the staff and resources they have to support their web services.

That means Twitter and Facebook need to come last for us, especially since so few of our teen and young adult users are even using Twitter, and those who are tend to already use the best ways to get in touch with us directly, rather than Twitter or Facebook. It's mostly adults outside the group we serve who tend to focus most on those tools and try to use them for direct communication with us.

Sometimes followers on those services will ask questions of us or make comments about something on our website or another part of our organization and want in-depth, and typically immediate, personal responses from us via those tools. However, we find those tools are not ideal, sound or efficient ways for us to engage in that kind of communication as an organization.

So often, the issues we talk about and work with are very complex and also very individual, so they're difficult to discuss well in-depth, accurately and with nuance with a tool that only allows for 140 characters at a time and/or a tool in which often people will post certain ways because they have an audience. Miscommunication with Facebook, and especially Twitter, is very easy. And when it comes to conflict resolution, we find tools like Twitter and Facebook to be very nonproductive, if not counter productive.

As a grassroots organization, we care about the whole of our community, people's ideas and input, and about serving everyone well, so we want to give issues brought to our attention about what we do the proper weight, time and consideration. But we also care about doing the things we exist as an organization to do most, and about best serving the population we need to put first. That given, we also need make sure we're giving outside issues, complaints or concerns an appropriate weight and priority, too.

For those reasons and more, if you have a question, complaint, issue or request of the organization or any of its staff, or want to have a discussion with us about something, please use the following outlets to do so:

Lastly, we always aim to bring the same guidelines and tone we use to communicate in other areas of Scarleteen to our social networking tools. We invest effort in communicating with others as kindly, clearly, compassionately and in as much good faith as possible, and ask that our readers and followers try and do the same with us and about us in turn. Thanks!