“I think you ought to think about that…” That’s what he said to me after the meeting. I guess I should explain. After a meeting one night, I was talking to one of my mentors after I took a rather silly photo with another brother. The mentor said, “You know, I think you might want to slow down on this internet posting.”
My mentor said, “You did cause that confrontation. You took a picture with the new EA and posted it on our Facebook Page.” “I guess I did, didn’t I?” I replied. I thought about it for a moment and I also thought about how many of these types of photos were indeed out there, pictures of new candidates, new Master Masons, etc. Heck, even the Grand Lodge of Illinois had a picture of someone taking their obligation right on the web and on the cover of its magazine. So how was this any different and how was this particular case an issue?
My mentor once again continued, “I know we do some silly things sometimes and I know we are all human, but do we want to show those things to the public? Do we want to be associated with the same type antics that biker clubs have and that sort of thing? We’re supposed to be this classy organization and yet it only takes one screw up, one photo or one person to get the wrong idea and it hurts the entire fraternity.”
He talked about a few other things, mostly about what personal information we as masons share on social media outlets. Personal family stories or anecdotes, and he asked if ultimately those things could have a potential to hurt the fraternity. It really made me think. Do I post too much? Should we be posting photos of our new Brothers, Fellows and Masters? Should we share images of our events?
After thinking about this, I realize that I just don’t know. I probably will be more selective about what I share on social media platforms. There is a Social Media Code of Conduct for Freemasons in some states, but Illinois isn’t one of them. I don’t think, however what we are talking about here is necessarily the issues to which that document is supposed to govern.
When we share these kinds of candid lodge photos, do we run a chance of someone getting the wrong impression and going after the fraternity for the wrong reasons? Are we playing Russian roulette? Should we guard the candid shots from finding their way to web?