The Church of England has published prudent and moderate guidance on how its clergy and members should use social media. Prudent and sensible in the way that all large organisations issue guidelines to avoid legal risks and reputational damage. The Church of England is guided by the possibility of fools rushing in and angels that may well fear to tread the 'net.
The media have characterised these principles as commandments; sometimes accompanied by a criticism that the spontaneity and interest of online conversations will be sucked dry. A valid point but after scandals and bad apples, can you blame the Church for wishing to avoid a social media meltdown on its watch, especially where anonymity is concerned.
Yet the advice only serves up dangers, not opportunities. The greatest vehicle for outreach since the printing press is treated as a risk management exercise; who would set up a blog in the Church of England if these commandments remove any possibility of reaching a hand out to the community.
The strongest enemy of innovation and new ventures is risk management, as deployed by organisations. Since certain activities can cause great risk, they are viewed as a non-permissive action. Angels fear to tread because the fools have told them that the risk is too great!