Sunday, January 10, 2010

Facebook is a Useful Tool for Lodges, Too

This blog post is a reprinting of an article that I wrote and was published in the January 2010 issue of the Connecticut Freemasons Newspaper.

The November issue of Connecticut Freemasons included an article that introduced Facebook, the social networking site that has taken the internet by storm. A December Connecticut Freemasons article showed how a timely interchange could involve several people, sharing opinions and thoughts. A Masonic lodge can also use Facebook to bring its members together, by sharing announcements, discussions, and information.

People use social networking sites to connect with others and to talk about the things that they are interested in. Facebook users come together to discuss books, holidays, movies, school events, and countless other topics. Our brothers are excited about Masonry and about their lodges, so they are naturally drawn to Facebook to learn more about others’ experiences in Masonry and to share their own. Since its beginning, brethren have met together on the internet to exchange ideas and discuss how Masonry is practiced in their various jurisdictions and lodges.

So how can your lodge use Facebook to inspire its brothers and help excite them into action? First, you need a central presence on Facebook. For this presence, there are two options: Pages and Groups. Pages and Groups are Facebook features that assist organizations to promote themselves and disseminate their information. There are slight differences between these two options, but generally Pages are preferred for lodges.

A Facebook page is primarily a public relations tool. Any Facebook user can become a “fan” of the page and it is therefore open to brothers, friends, family, and community members. The advantages of a Facebook page are numerous. A lodge can post its upcoming events on the page and invite people to attend. This can allow your lodge to save money on postage and advertising, while reaching a wider audience of brothers and friends. Your lodge can post photos about the great events that it has had. The page’s fans can then get a more intimate look into your lodge and its happenings.

Large amounts of content can also be posted onto the lodge page. Trestleboards can be posted on the page via a web link. Videos of an installation of officers or even a Masonic family picnic can be uploaded. The Worshipful Master could even digitally record his Master’s message and upload it to the page. Links to your lodge’s website can be included, as well as a link to the Grand Lodge’s website and other pages about Freemasonry. Facebook pages can allow its fans to start interactive discussion topics, for brothers to discuss everything from refreshments to the lodge budget. The options for posting content about your lodge are countless.

Finally, one of the primary benefits of your lodge having a Facebook page is that it is completely free. As long as your brothers have an email address and an internet connection, they can use Facebook.

Facebook is not a replacement for real life, nor is it a replacement for Masonry. There is no such thing as virtual Masonry. The lodge and our face-to-face brotherhood are what makes Freemasonry special. However, Facebook can help keep brothers informed and help excite them about your lodge’s events. This, in turn, may inspire them to come out and enjoy the fellowship of the lodge.

Like email, websites, and online documents, Facebook is just another virtual working tool by which we can perfect our art. Hopefully, your lodge can find a way to use this new tool to help bring brothers, friends, and family a little closer together.

3 comments:

B-Man said...

Check out Hiram-Takoma Lodge #10 on Facebook as a great example of spreading the word. It has a complete trestleboard for 2010.

masonicleader said...

Brother Charles,
I ran across your post after I had written a post on my website, www.masonicleader.com, entitled "The Oldest Social Networking Site." It ties right in to your comment that Facebook is not a substitute for Masonry. Thought you might enjoy it.
Mike Clevenger
New England #4
Worthington Ohio

BitFire said...

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to connect with their old members,
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