Should Grand Lodge be in the Public Eye More?

Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by rhitland, Jul 8, 2009.

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Should Grand Lodge be More in the Public Eye?

  1. Yes, it is the day and age we live in.

    18 vote(s)
    45.0%
  2. Yes, but I have a few restrictions to with it

    5 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. I could be talked into it with more details.

    7 vote(s)
    17.5%
  4. Not sure sounds real risky.

    2 vote(s)
    5.0%
  5. No, there is a better answer

    5 vote(s)
    12.5%
  6. No, I think everything is just fine.

    3 vote(s)
    7.5%
  1. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    The Grand Lodge of Massachusets decision to assert themselves more into the public eye has no dought proven Masonry has almost been forgotten about and when reminded of Masonry's presence peoples curiosty gets the best of them and sends them knocking at there local Lodge. The question is how do you feel on the subject should Masonry invest in billboards, TV commercials, newspaper wrtie ups, News worthy events etc...? This would all have to be kept as MA does within the guidline of no recruiting or asking it would have to be left to their own free will and accord, it is a campain to remind the public we are here and are purpose.
     
  2. cambridgemason

    cambridgemason Premium Member Premium Member

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    from Massachusetts, the programs have worked over the years. We are getting out into the public's eye more and more. Even tours of Boston incorporate us now on their tours. We have seen a huge increase in numbers, and yes some do leave, many stay and are getting involved. Some leave and may visit time to time, but we are also finding that some that can not make meetings are doing some backstage work, such as on committees, web sites, etc. We have gotten away from the old ways, such as proper pre-application meetings. With all these open houses etc. our GL have produced some fine DVD's and are currently producing a newer one. When we got started our GL printed up some find brochures with applications in them, so when prospective men came down and wanted to join they were given these applications, without ever going to a pre-application meeting. This was wrong, our new GM has told all lodges in Mass. that they can use all these types of brochure applications, and have the candidates fill them out, but this only gets them to have a pre-application meeting with the Master or other officers or members. Then we are to give them the full paperwork and have them fill it out and answer any questions they may have. This July 4th our GL help sponsor the Boston Pops and firework display with ads and icons of Freemasonry. We run radio ads on stations, the Shrine has had billboards throughout the state on the hospitals etc.. Like any new program there are some fall backs, problems that arise that are carefully corrected, but we do need restrictions. We also found that within the city with many lodges it becomes a free for all to get candidates, here in Cambridge we have informed them, NO more free for all, that they must inform all candidates on the five lodges that meet in Cambridge and their days and times and differences, by printing up our own letter telling the tour guides and committees about the history of the building and what lodges are in Cambridge, this past April, this worked out and we have another one coming up this October. Again we will conduct the same process, and most all lodges received candidates that time.
     
  3. RedTemplar

    RedTemplar Johnny Joe Combs Premium Member

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    I am sure this advertising campaign works fine with some lodges. As a whole, has the West Gate been securely guarded? With this "free for all to get candidates" mentality, has the rejection rates of petitioners for the degrees changed or remained the same? Am I concerned about nothing?
     
  4. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    I think there are better ways to make it into the public eye than advertising. News coverage for charitable acts, corner stone layings, processions and parades (Commandery specifically). I like all those options a lot, and I know here in Texas we don't make that big of a deal of those things when we do them.

    So long as the West Gate is guarded, I don't care too much. But I'm definitely a quality over quantity kind of guy, and would rather have a lodge of 20 hard working bretheren, than 100 social club members.

    (I'm also a believer that we don't have a recruitment problem, we have a retention problem, which is an entirely separate issue.)
     
    Warrior1256 likes this.
  5. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    One thing I've had quite an issue with is how we often try to bring attention to our good works. It reminds me of Matthew 6:1 where we are warned about drawing attention to our good deeds.

    I have to ask though, why would anyone feel we have a need to get out into the public eye more? I ask because over the years I've developed an outlook that's quite the opposite of that.
     
  6. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    I can tell you exactly why. I'm 23, and I can't tell you how many times I've had to explain what Freemasonry is to people my age. And I don't mean, "It's not a cult or a secret society, but rather a fraternity" etc. I mean many, many, many people my age have never heard of Freemasonry. At all. Period.

    I've had conversations go, "Why are you wearing that ring?" "It's my masonic ring, I'm a Freemason." "A Freemason, what's that?" "Well, it's a fraternity. Like Masonic lodges." "Yeah, but what is it? I've never heard of it before."

    You can't petition something that you don't even know exists. They don't even know of it as something their grandparents did. They simply don't know of it.

    There is also a subset that seems to think it's only for the wealthy or well connected. I try to dispell that, since I'm definitely not wealthy. But I've not encountered this as much.

    Anyway, since fostering a strong community is something we ought to be doing (in whatever form that takes), I think that represents a failure on our part. What exactly that failure is, I suppose is debatable. But there's an entire generation that has little to no knowledge of us unless they have family members in the fraternity. I consider that a problem, personally.
     
  7. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    +1
     
  8. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    You make some valid points brother...but how could anyone not know we exist? You've got blockbuster movies such as Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and the National Treasures...the first two being based off very successful books. I would submit that Hollywood has done quite a lot to make Freemasonry known again.

    This is true, but you also stated something else (something which I agree with you entirely upon):

    Anyhow, I realize my thoughts and opinions are something of a minority so I respect everyone else's opinion. It's just a concern of mine that everything we do to become more public and transparent has the potential to cheapen the fraternity.
     
  9. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    Trust me, I share your concern as well. I'm more of an advocate of a balanced approach. I don't think we need to have membership drives, one day classes for the masses, billboards, etc. I think viral youtube videos and the occasional newspaper article/10:00 news coverage about some charity action would be an improvement, arguable enough in that regard.

    And while we have had more Hollywood coverage, not everyone consumes the same media. Unlike most people my age, I almost never watch TV. When I do, it's the same couple of shows that I search for. But there are weeks when my TV doesn't even turn on. So, TV ads from a Grand Lodge would miss me. (Which I think delves a bit too far into advertisement for my tastes, personally.)

    There are people that don't watch movies. There are people that don't read novels. Heck, I read a lot, but it's mostly periodicals, political, scholarly journals, etc. Still haven't read any Dan Brown books.

    I guess the point is, people need to be aware we're out there, and we're not doing a very good job of letting that fact be known.



    Also, regarding awareness, how many people would know that Kappa Kappa Psi exists? (My college fraternity.) It was referenced in the [awful] movie Drumline. Virtually every Division I and II school in the nation with a marching band has a chapter. It's about to come up to its centennial birthday. It's old, large, and has a great deal of influence in the music world. But non music majors mostly haven't heard of it. You only know it exists if you're in the band on a college campus that has a chapter.

    Much like many people in my generation only know about Freemasonry if they have an uncle, father, or grandfather in the fraternity. And I'm not saying it's bad that we have a strong familial tradition. If anything, that's a strength of ours. I just don't think it could hurt too much to let the world see us going about our activities. If we guard the West Gate accordingly, it shouldn't be that much of an issue.


    Then of course we have to hold ourselves to a high standard to prevent the fraternity from being cheapened, something which I think we haven't done a good job of either. And I think it contributes to the retention problem. We tend to be our own worst enemy in that regard.
     
  10. Bro Darren

    Bro Darren Premium Member

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    The GL of Victoria has it's own TV show on once a week :)


    My Freemasonry
     
  11. cherrynobel

    cherrynobel Registered User

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    In today modern world it's necessary to maintain a good image in the world so I think it will be beneficial to do advertisement to a certain extent and dispel the various wrong theories regarding freemasonry because I have seen that most of the people think that freemasonry is a cult practising black magic and some people who don't believe in such crappy theories think that freemasonry doesn't exist therefore a bit of advertisement will surely increase the number of masons but it should be administered properly.
     
  12. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    W Bro Nagy makes a distinction between Freemasonry as the organization "more men in Freemasonry" and Masonry as the practice by individuals "more Masonry in men". I think it's a useful distinction because both are needed.

    GL must focus on Freemasonry because it is the organization. As such I think they should each maintain a PR program. Issue press releases and show their member lodges how to do so. Keep publishing material on activities and encourage their member lodges to do so as well. PR campaigns can be done in expensive and inexpensive ways. I wonder if a trust fund to make/acquire buildings that have a positive cash flow might work. Scatter buildings around the jurisdiction that have a strip mall on the first floor, a set of lodge rooms above and start taking lodges in as tenants.

    As individuals our posting activity shows Masonry in action. That's good grass roots PR.
     
  13. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Grand Lodges can and should get publicity. I am 1000% for this. I am reminded of the old story about the Hollywood starlet. She was asked by a reporter from a major news outlet, what she thought about all the bizarre and weird stories printed about her in the supermarket tabloids. She responded, "I don't care what they print, as long as they spell my name right".

    I am of the opinion, that there is no such thing as too much publicity for Freemasonry. The Grand Lodge of New Jersey has billboards.

    To paraphrase another old saying: You can't be too rich, too thin, nor have too much publicity about our Craft.
     
  14. Zack

    Zack Registered User

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    The ROJ got some publicity for the Craft. Guess that's OK with you?
     
  15. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    I'm not familiar with that acronym. Return Of the Jedi? I don't much mind negative PR for Masonry for the same reason I don't much mind antis. Sane folks can tell obvious insanity.

    I'm all for positive PR but I've seen the prices for advertizing. PR and advertizing are NOT the same thing. Many can't tell the difference and experts in PR don't generally come cheap. The discussion on this web forum counts as positive PR in the on-line world. Billboards are a reasonable expense for price-performance ratio.
     
  16. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    As a lifelong Star Wars geek, it's RotJ. Anyone caught on any Star Wars forum capitalizing all 4 letters or using another acronym must kiss a Wookiee.

    :)

    Perhaps if you're selling Brill cream. The GL's using old school advertising campaigns aren't getting much ROI (Return on Investment).

    A well-planned social media campaign can reach far more people, and for far less dollars. Problem is, most at the GL level haven't embraced technology beyond owning an abbacus.
     
  17. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Brother Doug, I believe he is referring to the Royal Order of Jesters and the case of interstate prostitution from a couple years ago. Sometimes bad press is NOT better than no press at all...
     
  18. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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  19. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    That's why I stated that PR and advertizing are NOT the same thing. I've read some books on PR through social media - Sounds like a full time job to pull it off.
     
  20. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    I would hate to guess the hundreds of hours I have spent researching social media and SEO... But it's all been worth it for my photography business. That is an industry that lends itself well to an online presence.

    As for Freemasonry, it would be a tougher sale.
     

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