Minnesota Freemasons need to make social networking work for them. The recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted how we’re trying to use it to attract new members, but in truth, it’s much more useful as a tool to learn more about each other.
When I joined Braden 168 I was told, in no obscure terms, that if I had any aspirations of joining the line of Grand Lodge Officers, and perhaps even be Most Worshipful Grand Master of Minnesota, like our very own Tom, King of the Masons, Braden Lodge just ain’t the place to be.
Braden 168 isn’t your classic “networking lodge.” People join Braden for our dedication to Masonic ritual, education, and fellowship. They don’t join in hopes of expanding their client-base, new business opportunities, or becoming one of those super-powerful world-controlling masons we hear so much about. There are some lodges and organizations in Minneapolis and St. Paul where you certainly could go if you wanted to meet the kind of people who could introduce you to the kind of people who could help you on your way into Grand Lodge, or in business, however. And that’s great, because if there’s one thing Masons should be about, it’s helping each other with our goals.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking to network in the fields of independent filmmaker or blacksmithing, surprisingly, we’ve got you covered.
This is something that has got Masons in trouble in the past. It comes out of a Communitarian philosophy that people may, in perfect accordance with morals and ethics, choose to help their friends, family, and neighbors before strangers. People have used this to malign masons as some secret cabal for ages. Even today, in England, first-time judiciary candidates have to declare their masonic status. I suppose they’re worried about favoritism. But then, shouldn’t every government worker declare their group affiliations, and provide an accurate list of family, friends, and acquaintances?
In my time as a Mason, though, I’ve seen precious little networking from anyone. Maybe it’s done, but from where I sit, lodges are still so very private and independent. We have two other lodges that share our building, and in the end we don’t know that much about each other. But isn’t brotherly networking a good thing? Shouldn’t we dedicate ourselves to helping each other, and patronizing each other’s businesses and services?
I’d much rather have a Mason for a mechanic, and not because I’d think I’d get a discount. Brother’s may do that, but brothers would never expect it. What I would expect, however, is that I’ll get a square deal for good work. It certainly beats Angieslist.
Some things have been tried in the past, and all have failed, it seems. But I think there is one thing out there that has a chance. I stumbled on to the Minnesota Freemasons group on LinkedIn.
The group isn’t active, and isn’t very big…yet. But you know what? A lot of Masons already use LinkedIn. Why not join up? Let your fellow brothers know who you are and what you do. Maybe you’ll get a new customer. Maybe a new opportunity will open up. Or maybe you’re in a position to help another brother out in these hard times.
I intend to push this over the next year. In fact, I’d love to see the group reach 100 members by the end of 2011, which is infinitely doable. I hope any other brother reading this joins the group, and joins me in promoting it.