According to social media research, nearly 3.5 billion people now use social media and are spending an average of nearly 2.5 hours every day on social networks. With stats like those, it’s no wonder that social media can be a great place to carry Al-Anon’s message of help and hope.
But before we as individuals start tweeting and posting, we need to consider the impact it may have on our personal anonymity as well as Al-Anon as a whole. As expected, we have members on both sides of this pendulum. Some are very cautious while others are more accepting when it comes to social media.
On page 120 of the 2022-2025 Al‑Anon/Alateen Service Manual (P-24/27) v2, the “Digest of Al‑Anon and Alateen Policies” under “The Philosophy and Spiritual Principles of Al‑Anon’s Public Outreach” states, “Personal anonymity is maintained at the level of press, radio, films, TV, and the internet.” So how can you carry the message on social media and maintain personal anonymity? By liking or sharing Al-Anon WSO content to your network but not commenting about your Al‑Anon membership. The act of liking/sharing alone does not break your anonymity; social media platforms is public so anyone, regardless of their relationship to Al-Anon, is free to like/share our content. We have a number of mental health professionals and professional institutions who engage with our content on a regular basis.
Not commenting about your Al-Anon membership is key. If we publicly declare our membership on social networks, we risk becoming the “face” of Al-Anon, and any statements we’ve made or photos we’ve shared on social media, any time in the past, could potentially draw Al-Anon into controversy. We must remind ourselves that maintaining our anonymity is how we safeguard our program.
So, while it’s safe to hit the Like and Share buttons, we want to avoid comments stating that we are grateful members of Al-Anon—leave that for the rooms.
What concerns me is the continuing habit among members of giving their one-and-only e-mail addresses for group contact lists, when those addresses have their full names, and sometimes identify their workplaces, too. My choice was to make a Gmail address just for Al-Anon — my group knows who “Amy G” is, after all, but anyone shoulder-surfing will not.
This was timely and useful! As a Group Rep, I had told my group that we would be doing a re-emphasis on the implications of ANONYMITY “in all our affairs” at our next business meeting.
Assuming what people will assume about me was part of my pre-Al-Anon life. There is more good to be gained from sharing an Al-Anon post than liking it because my other social media friends or followers will see Al-Anon messages. I had to ask myself if I am not sharing Al-Anon’s social media posts because I am ashamed to be in the program or fearful of criticism from members who know I am an Al-Anon member. Thanks to this article, i will recommit myself to sharing Al-Anon messages with the desire of helping others in need. Everyone knows someone who… Read more »
Nothing leaves the rooms guys as that was a huge concern in the beginning for me as realizing that newcomers have every right to be here as we need to protect their anonymity as closely as possible especially within the 1st year of program like I said in a lead on Tradition 4 as this can be a matter of life and death. This was a lead that I gave almost 15 years ago and I’m really grateful that I gave this lead because we never know if an alcoholic will go haywire as I learned when I was 19.
Thank you for the clarification. RB
Thanks for the clarification. My on-line meeting has anonymity as the topic this week and I haven’t sent my share yet. This supports how I interact with the WSO Facebook page as I only click “like” or “love” on the posts.
This has been really helpful for me too. We are presenting a workshop at our next district meeting on attraction v. promotion because there is a lot of confusion about this subject and I will make sure to include this information. Thank you!
Thank you! Great explanation !
Thank you so much for clarifying this anonymity is very important. I am physically and mentally abused woman from the disease of alcoholism anonymity to me is very important because of Al-Anon’s anonymity I have been able to grow and leave a violent relationship I could not have done it without this program thank you Al-Anon
Thank you so much! I just called WSO to ask this exact question yesterday and this is such an eloquent response- thank you.
On the Facebook Al Anon groups that I am on they are closed/private groups and only members of the group can see what is posted there. Nothing posted in those groups shows up on public news feeds.
Excellent and simple explanations!
” . . . press, radio, films, TV, the internet, as well as other ways of reaching the public.” That phrase echoes the wording in Tradition 11. It is very appropriate and I plan to ask my home group to discuss it at our next business meeting with a view to adding to our Chairperson’s Script if the Group decides to do that.
Thank you for this clarification and I look forward to more practical and helpful tips like this as we all navigate new forms of communication and social media!