A couple of years ago I read an article about being careful who you “Like” on social media sites if you’re a small business. It’s unfortunate that “guilt by association” is something we must be cautious of in a spiritual community, but sometimes it’s even more important in our world.
We make our way in our spiritual practice or business based on our reputation and through word of mouth. Here our reputation is everything! Few things can damage your reputation as quickly as a link to an unsavory person or their business.
Because of this article, I am very cautious about accepting invitations online. Unless I have time to do some research or already know and trust the person, I don’t accept the connection. Whether it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social media source. It’s not something I do out of arrogance or disdain. But it is done for purely selfish reason; to ensure my reputation is always within my control.
Today a friend who has a small spiritual candle business in the north-west contacted me asking for prayers because of this very issue. She makes the most amazing scented candles with an emphasis on aroma therapy. She uses her own energy to connect with the Divine in her life as she creates the wax and pours the candles. She includes an incantation as she pours the wax to infuse each candle with a specific energy. It’s truly a special gift and talent. (At this time I’m going to keep her name and her candle business out of this article as she wants this story to be shared, but wants to be anonymous).
About a year ago she accepted a friend request to her business presence on FB. The person never responded to her posts, or made comments on her page. Never contacted her or as far as she knows, never purchased one products. No big deal. It’s one thing to use social media connections for people to like you. The scrutiny comes when you reciprocate to like them.
About six months ago, she accepted an invitation to “Like” a business page this person created on FB stating he was a pagan teacher and healer. She didn’t think anything of it, she’s liked many pages of other pagan and spiritual businesses as part of her “network”.
As it turns out, the person was a pedophile and he was using FB and the spiritual business as a front to draw in young teenage girls. Once he had their confidence, he would meet them at local spiritual events, or places he said were pagan friendly for a chat. Then he would find a way to give them a ride and molest them in his car or at some other location. All using a fake name etc.
Because she was part of his “Likes”, people are now pointing fingers at her, and others like her who had “liked” his page without a second thought. The accusers claim these other people had to know what he was doing and condoned his actions, were part of his actions or were/are engaged in similar actions himself. Of course many if not most of the people doing the attacking are “Christians” who simply know anyone that’s Pagan is a vile, evil or depraved people desiring to harm children and capture their souls. Yeah, real “Christians” alright.
Sadly this was a hard lesson in being careful who your friends are. Especially if they’re not really friends at all. It’s one thing to have people follow your page, or like your page. But when you reciprocate with people you don’t really know regardless of how you know them, you’re taking a chance that you may later regret.
If you’re small business, the internet and social media resources are great places to market your services, products and reputation. But if your business is based strongly on your professional reputation, use them wisely. Do your research, learn about the other people who are asking you to like their page, or link up with them on this site or that.
Keep in mind that it’s not only “Likes” that can need to be scrutinized. Those “groups” who invite you into their midst also require your review. This is another thing I don’t do. Mainly because I simply don’t have time to participate in other spiritual group pages. I’m already spread very thin and if I can’t give a group my time and attention, I prefer to leave space to others who can participate.
Remember that in some cases, if your reputation is well-known and respected, others are looking for you to like them so they can ride on your coat tails. If a great personality such as you “likes” their business then certainly they must be legit and of equal stature. Right?
You worked hard for your reputation, protect it and use it wisely. If you don’t have time to research those who send you invitations, then simply let them sit in your inbox until you do. Or dismiss the invitation all together.
Stick to a policy of no “likes” unless you really know the person in real life. Even then, make sure you know them well enough to base your reputation on their character. You might be saving your own reputation in the process.
© 2013 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.