Province of Jersey
Public Relations & Communications - Matthew Viney
The Provincial Grand Master writes - More and more Social Media is playing a significant part in our everyday lives. Many young people use it daily, if not hourly, to inform friends and colleagues of the happenings around them, in this fast moving world.
Freemasonry is not exempt from this revolution and already many Masonic Provinces and individuals are using Face Book and Twitter to communicate and disseminate information to fellow Masons.
It cannot be denied that this form of communication has many advantages; but it also has its pitfalls. While on the one hand, important or relevant information and images can be disseminated in seconds to hundreds if not thousands of people; by the same token, if used inappropriately, damaging comments or unsuitable material can be sent to a vast audience, be it purposely or inadvertently, thus having damaging effects.
The United Grand Lodge of England is embracing this (relatively) new media and daily Twitters and Face Book up-dates are sent from numerous areas of UGLE to the "Twitterati". Many Provinces throughout the English Constitution are already hosting Face Book pages and official Twitter sites. Personally, I can see the benefit of Social Media when used sensibly and consequently I have approved the launch of our own Provincial Face Book and Twitter sites: Twitter:https://twitter.com/Jersey_Mason Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/JerseyMasons
These will be managed by Bro Matt Viney. These new sites will help to promote our already impressive and important Web Site which will continue to be the "home base" for all our Masonic information.
GUIDELINESWe understand that the use of social media by individual members of the Craft is a private matter for that individual. However, anything posted online is available for all to read and may well be available for viewing for a very long time! Therefore, if you are utilising social media and you choose to make references to Freemasonry, please adhere to the following guidelines:
- That your comments or postings are in accordance with the principles and tenets of the Craft. As always, the Book of Constitutions is there for further guidance
- That you are personally responsible for the comments (i.e. postings) you make. Always try to remember that you are speaking as an individual and not 'on behalf of your Lodge, Province and/or Freemasonry
- Remember that information on the web can remain in place for extended periods of time
- If you have your own website, blog or Facebook page which references Freemasonry in any level of detail, please include the following disclaimer- "The views expressed here are my own and not those of the Province of Jersey in particular, or Freemasonry in general"
- Do not post anything online that you would not be happy to share with a non-Mason, i.e. member of the public
- Do not disclose any of the methods of recognition - i.e. signs, tokens, or words, or post tracts of Ritual
- Ensure that you respect copyright, privacy and confidentiality and all other applicable laws
- When re-posting make sure that you afford due credit to the source, where relevant - i.e. avoid blatant plagiarism. When posting on behalf of a group or lodge, avoid use of the 'I' and 'Me' - it's 'We' and 'Us'
- Do not blog or tweet about private Lodge matters - i.e. the business of the Lodge(s)
- Do not reference other Brethren or publish their photographs without their prior approval
- Remember that public sites are not suitable for internal communications with other Brethren. There are restricted access forums should you wish to share information which is private to Freemasonry, although this Province supports and encourages the practice of complete openness within its social media channels and closed groups do not support that ethos
- Respect all individuals and communities with which you interact online. A Freemason is taught to be cautious and he already knows to avoid discussions concerning race, creed and politics; also, not to offend through personal insults or obscenity - in summary, not to engage in any conduct which would be unacceptable within Freemasonry itself
- Remember the advice: "What may seem funny to you could easily be offensive to others"
- Be polite and respectful of others' opinions, even in times of animated discussion and debate
- Be aware of your association with Freemasonry and ensure that your profile and content is consistent with how you would wish to present yourself externally (remembering how far social media can extend)
- Do not publish material which is defamatory of, or injurious to, any other person or organisation and avoid criticism, harassment or vilification in all cases and at all times
In conclusion, social media can be a very powerful and highly effective communication channel, enabling and empowering us to interact with a much wider and diverse audience. Used correctly we have a platform to take our message of friendship and openness to a completely new level, encouraging participation from our own Brethren and the general public alike.
Finally - these guidelines are not intended to curb enthusiasm, but to provide a framework through which we can all embrace social media and reap its undeniable benefits, for ourselves and the Craft. But as a general rule, avoid adding messages to social media when you are in the pub or at such a time that you may regret having posted an item later. Remember, Masonic discipline extends to social media! If you would like further clarity on any of the points mentioned above or guidance on setting up your Lodge's social media presence (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc.) then please contact: The Provincial Communications Officer- Bro Matt Viney
Please note that, where the law permits, the Province reserves the right to monitor use of social media platforms and take appropriate action to protect against misuse which may be harmful to the reputation of the Province or Freemasonry in general