how the internet has affected the craft by w bro mike bayrak n.
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  1. How the Internet has affected the Craft By: W.Bro. Mike Bayrak E-Masonry e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  2. Outline • The Internet • Freemasonry on the Internet • Ivanhoe on the Internet • How has the Internet affected: • Freemasonry? • Ivanhoe Lodge? • Personal experience • Questions to consider • Conclusion e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  3. The Internet • ARPANET created in 1969 originally used for the U.S. Military • Al Gore did NOT invent it. • 80’s – Mostly universities • Became mainstream in mid-90’s • Email, FTP • World Wide Web (graphic HTML pages) • Late 90’s • Chat, Databases, E-Commerce boom, standardizations e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  4. Web 2.0 • More user-friendly online editable content • Google dominates search • RSS (Really Simple Subscription) a.k.a. “feeds” • data comes to you through a reader • Weblogs: • Blogger, Wordpress, MS Spaces, Twitter (microblog) • Social networks • Facebook • MySpace • YouTube • MSN • Skype • online dating • Mobile Web - Internet in the palm of your hand e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  5. Freemasonry on the Internet • Early to mid 90’s • BBS: Canmas • Newsgroups:alt.freemasonry • Late 90’s • More lodge and grand lodge websites • Poorly presented • Conspiracy and anti-masonry sites • Secrets easily found e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  6. Freemasonry & Web 2.0 • Lodge and Grand Lodge websites much improved • Regularly updated, calendars, lots of info • Men looking for information to join are finding it • Internet Lodges of Research created • Masonic discussion groups • Brethren connecting from around the world and comparing rites, protocol, esoterica • Personal Masonic blogs • Brethren sharing their Masonic experiences publically yet carefully • Radio Free Mason, Freemason Information • Online Masonic radio broadcasts with music, interviews, editorials e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  7. Ivanhoe Lodge on the Web • Went online in 1999, one of few lodges in Alberta with a website • Several domain names and designs • Now: www.ivanhoe142.org • Using WordPress online content editing system • Google Calendar notifications to email • Picasa online photo albums (new!) • Facebook group (private) • Email list (~70 brethren) e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  8. Lodge Websitewww.ivanhoe142.org e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  9. Updating website using WordPress... e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  10. Online Photo Albums e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  11. Facebook Page e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  12. How has the Internet affected Freemasonry? e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  13. Positives • Brethren connecting globally, bringing people together more easily than ever before • Sharing of Masonic experiences and knowledge on discussion groups • Masonic papers, graphics, discussions, education and research readily available • Positive public image • Email can save in postage and printing costs for a lodge • Men going to websites for info and asking to join • Finding and visiting a lodge is a lot easier e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  14. Negatives • Anti-Masonic sites everywhere • New World Order / Illuminati conspiracies • Postings on news and discussion groups by people disseminating myths and lies • Fundamental Christian groups blasting Masonry for being anti-Christian and devil worshippers • Secrets and ritual readily available • Men joining are doing it out of curiosity • Clandestine lodges and grand lodges attracting members away from regular • Has it made Masonic social discourse less personal? e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  15. How has the Internet affected Ivanhoe Lodge? e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  16. Positively • History of lodge can be read at anytime by anyone • Gives us a strong presence amongst dozens of lodges and shows that we are a modern lodge in the 21st century • Sharing of lodge event photos • Many good men joined because of website • Visitors and brethren looking for a lodge to affiliate with seems to have increased • Online calendar with automatic event email notifications has slightly improved attendance • Out of town brethren can feel like they are still in the loop • Brethren and officers are organizing and discussing lodge matters via email, increasing efficiency e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  17. Negatively • People were looking for: • booking info on Freemasons’ Hall • Information on members • Men interested in joining: • Emails seemed insincere and odd • Receiving too many • Are brethren receiving more Masonic education online than through the lodge itself? e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  18. Personal Experience • Before I considered joining, I discussed Masonry online with people from around the world • I still continue to research and discuss online for Masonic education and info, although in my opinion, books still prevail • Have sponsored several individuals who found us online • Organized lodge events and practices using email • When travelling and visiting lodges, I use the Internet to search and contact • Currently an administrator of “The Three Pillars” online Masonic community and have met many of the members in person in different cities (see, nothing beats face-to-face!) e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  19. Questions to consider • Has Freemasonry’s increased presence on the web increased men joining lodges? • Not really, but it hasn’t hurt it either • Searches for “Freemasons” have mostly corresponded with the release of movies such as National Treasure and Dan Brown novels/movies e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  20. Google Search Volume Freemasons Knights Templar National Treasure Da Vinci Code The Lost Symbol e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  21. Consider this... • Lodges generally do not have a recruitment problem, they have a retention problem • initiations ~= deaths • SNPD + demits has decreased but it continues • So, how can lodges utilize the web to retain members? or... • Are lodges that utilize the web too much becoming less personal to their members? • Is there a balance? e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  22. Conclusions • While emails, online discussion and education is less personal, lodges need to balance this with continued calling, face-to-face meetings, and social discourse • Lodges can be more efficient using Internet tools to contact more brethren, collect dues, etc. • Some people prefer to be contacted by email, some prefer phone • Website info can publically counteract the existing negativity, myths, and false information about Freemasonry and can attract interested men • Technology should not replace the fundamental aspects of the Craft • Sponsoring and mentoring new members • COMELY • But it can be an enhancement to an already rewarding experience e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

  23. My favourite research sites • www.freemasonry.bcy.ca • www.masonicdiscussion.com • www.freemasoninformation.com • www.freemasons-freemasonry.com • www.themasonicsociety.org e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak

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  29. Questions? e-Masonry by WBro. M. Bayrak