Like Bro∴ Singler, I am also on Facebook nearly all the time – or at least appearing to be… This article seems quite good advice – not just for the Freemason, but for everyone.
I am on Facebook almost all day long checking the status of my family and friends , seeing what is going on in the Masonic world and interacting with The Working Tools readers. You can say I’m a Facebook power user.
Overall, I am connected online 24/7. My iPhone is, for all intents and purposes, surgically attached to my body. You email me and I get back to you right away, I think that is the most polite thing to do. I try to watch my manners and present myself as well as possible to all people at all times.
Put those two paragraphs together and you have the basis of my article. “Manners on Facebook”
Increasingly, I have seen behavior that makes me shake my head in disbelief. I understand that we all have lives outside of the Lodge but we represent the Craft all day long, 365 days a year (yes even when we go dark for the summer months).
Allow me to give you a real-life example.
You have the Square and Compasses license plate on your automobile, on the back windshield are emblems for Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shriners, etc. You’re driving way too fast and are cutting people off. The first thing the other drivers are thinking are “The Freemasons are real Jerks” (Trust me – they called you worse names but I cleaned it up to keep it nice). I know I’ve done it before when I see a bumper sticker for an organization and the driver is all over the road. Now let’s look at this type of reckless behavior online.
You have a profile picture of the Square and Compasses. You often post when you are at a Lodge meeting or appendant body event. You talk about all the good Freemasonry does raising money for sick children and how proud you are for that.
Separately, in another post you are openly cursing, talking about about how you hate so and so. You post a picture of a half naked girl or a explicit video clip with content not suitable for all . All these messages are posted on all your friends walls and when they respond to you it then gets shown on their wall. Now you have the probability of hundreds or thousands of people seeing what you wrote.
Why does this matter besides tarnishing our reputation? What if one of those people who saw your post was thinking about joining a Lodge? What kind of message are you sending out to him? You now potentially ruined the chance of a great member from asking for a petition. That first impression is something you can never get back.
I’m not a saint, I’ve posted some out there messages but I’m working on being very conscious of my actions and thinking about what I wrote before hitting the send button. It’s a practice I think we can all afford to adopt.
Try to imagine if this is something you would say in an open Lodge meeting. Would you be embarrassed to stand up and say what you wrote on your wall for the world to see? If the answer is “yes” you need to square your actions and act appropriately.
(Stepping off my soapbox)
Originally published in the June 2012 edition of The Working Tools.