Thursday, March 25, 2010

What did you do for DeMolay Week?

Today we bring you a special guest posting from "Dad" Peter Brusoe.

This past DeMolay week we took a tradition of DeMolay - pride in our order- and applied it to 21st century technology, through the use of Facebook. I think this program was successful and wished to share with you some feedback on what we did, how we did it, and some ideas for future work.

Why Facebook?
Facebook provides a unique opportunity for individuals to network and to rally towards various causes. When a national tragedy occurs it is not unusual to see people change their facebook logo to a ribbon or something else to promote a cause. (For example, the massacres at NIU, Virginia Tech, etc.) The 2008 Presidential election saw people putting up a picture of their preferred candidate. Saturday Night Live has now booked Betty White to host based upon a grass roots movement. The possibility for promotion of organizations or causes using Facebook is nearly endless.

How Did this idea come about?
Nation’s Capital DeMolay started out with a basic premise: Our members, alumni and advisors should make a point of wearing a DeMolay shirt / tie / pin / hat to school / work / wherever on March 18th, 2010, the 91st founding of the organization. It was approved by our Executive Officer and we created a Facebook event which was then sent it to the 50 or so "fans" of Nation’s Capital DeMolay. The next day I checked the event and over 100 people had been added. The growth continued. The most recent stats had 612 people willing to do this, with 287 people saying “maybe,” and 587 people who did not respond. We had 400 people who declined. That was pretty impressive. The event had gone “viral.”

If we had that type of response for doing something in the real world that required effort, what if we did something with showing DeMolay pride online? "Dad" Seth Anthony, a Senior DeMolay and Advisor from PA, and I talked about it and what we developed was the concept of a DeMolay Internet Pride during DeMolay Week. The premise was simple: DeMolays and their supporters changed their profile pictures during DeMolay week to highlight a famous DeMolay or famous DeMolay supporters.

The implied benefit was easy:
(1) It would increase the presence of DeMolay on the internet
(2) It would educate some of our members about our more famous members
(3) It would highlight the support of some key Masonic leaders to other masons.
(4) It could create solidarity.
(5) It would provide an avenue for members to talk about DeMolay.

Seth had the inspired idea that since we were taking members from our “Hall of Fame” we should go for a “baseball card” look (see example at left.) He created some great pictures that we posted to Facebook. We had 509 people say “yes” 301 maybes, 852 people who did not respond several hundred people say “no.” (Ironically in this no category were several Past Congress Secretaries and current and past State Master Councilors.) The result was amazing even among those replying “no," “maybe,” or "not yet responded." Even some of them had changed their profile picture. Some jurisdictions came up with their own logos, some PSMCs used their year’s logo, and others used whatever graphic they felt comfortable with. What was important was that people had rallied around the organization. This cost us nothing to do, the promotion was very light, a couple of emails from our International Master Councilor, some states promoting it through their electronic news, but mainly just informal social networking and promotion from a couple of jurisdictions to their members.

The results wre pretty amazing:

1) The exposure to DeMolay was amazing. If we assume each one of those people had 100 unique friends we exposed over 50,900 people.(and chances are that’s a little higher I personally have 1,200 facebook friends.)
2) It educated our members: Several DeMolays sent responses that they didn’t know Pete Rose was a DeMolay, or "Who is Bill Bradley?", or that they didn't know John Steinbeck was a DeMolay.
3) We saw Masons take an interest in the picture of their various national leader (graphics were created for Scottish Rite, Shrine, and Knights Templar.)
4) It created bonding and solidarity. We saw DeMolays friend other DeMolays via Facebook and communicate about what their Chapter was doing.
5) We don’t have any direct evidence from DeMolays that there were able to recruit anyone or start the conversation about DeMolay. I know that from my non-Masonic/DeMolay friends many of them said “Oh, I didn’t know Trent Lott was in DeMolay.” or “You were in the same organization as Bill Clinton? Did you know that before you joined?” or “Disney, that’s cool!”

We do know that several Job’s Daughter’s were impresssed by the idea and are doing their own pride event this week. DeMolay in the Philippines even made several pictures highlighting their own alumni.

What can we do with other groups?
I think there is a real possibility for us to apply this to our other Masonic bodies to highlight awareness and pride in the organizations or to highlight their philanthropy.

The possibilities are endless.

"Dad" Brusoe is a Past State Master Councilor of New York, and Past International Master Councilor. He now resides in Washington D.C. and works with Nation's Capital DeMolay as their Deputy Executive Officer for Membership Services. Interestingly enough, he also enjoys playing the tuba. We dont' know what that says about his personality, but we personally don't think of him as a blow hard.

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