How Rough Is Your Online Ashlar?
We are an ancient tradition in the 21st century. We need to look the part or we’re doomed. Period. End of story. Your Lodge may have the greatest ritual work. best pancakes, esoteric discussions or the youngest officer line in the fraternity but there’s more to being relevant in this age. If you want your Lodge to survive in the coming millennia and capture the interest of my fellow “millennials”, let’s get digital.
First let me say, greetings from Blendon Lodge #339 in Westerville, Ohio. I’m Matt Johnson, a 32 year old PM (for 2015-2016) who has been the caretaker of www.blendon339.com since my raising in 2009. I also happen to be a Senior Marketing Technologist, with relevant experience that I’ve been applying towards my Lodge’s future. I’m here to ask you some serious questions about the future of our fraternity.
I’m legitimately concerned for us, so let’s role-play for a moment. If I know nothing about Freemasonry and live in your area – where am I going to look? What am I going to find when I look around? I’m going to start by searching online for a local lodge, using my computer, smartphone or tablet. Am I going to find your lodge’s website (you do have one right???) with recent or accurate information?
Some Lodges haven’t updated their websites in over a decade. Many have very confusing layouts & designs reminiscent of the year 1997 with spinning animations everywhere, a guestbook last touched in 2001 and an officer line from 1999. Our most basic and essential marketing & communications tool that could be working 24/7/365 isn’t being utilized well. You need a perfect online ashlar to build a foundation from.
This is an internet-driven era. You have approximately 10 seconds or less when I find your homepage for me to gauge if I’m wasting my time. Not in the concept of Freemasonry, but in your specific Lodge. I’d be more likely to close the page, never looking back because I think Lodge XYZ is a joke or a dead organization. I often hear “we only want the most interested candidates”; that’s great, but give them something to be interested in.
It’s basic, it’s fundamental, we’re missing it by miles.
- Does your Lodge look alive to the outside world?
- How easy is it for the curious public (and potential members) to find you & learn more about you?
- Can they subscribe to you via email, Facebook, etc?
You don’t need an executive level website or a daily blog; but you do need to consider if you’re at least doing the basics. People have the expectation today to be able to find information about an interest online, to engage that interest.
There are a plethora of free tools available to help both the geek and non-geek alike account for this, they’re not hard to utilize. You just need to take it seriously. Let’s explore together here how we can help you make your Lodge’s website one of the great working tools of our profession.
What’s The Takeaway?
- This is a media rich world these days and we need to communicate to our local communities in ways that work for us 24/7/365 in the easiest, most cost/time effective ways possible.
- We need to make it easier for the local public to find and subscribe to our information, event updates, announcements, etc.
- Multi-channel communications are key.
- Not everyone wants an email newsletter, not everyone has a Facebook account, not everyone reads the local city paper (or any news paper).
- We need to be where the public is looking.
- Tools are freely available – outside of your time, consideration and effort.
- Website hosting solutions are available for even the most technologically unsophisticated and inexperienced.
- There are simply no excuses any more.
- We, as a fraternity need to take this seriously.
Download free resources for Lodge Website, Public Relations and Social Media Committees.