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.