Friday, December 21, 2018

Featured: The Most Connected Lodge in the World

Palo Alto, CA -- "We are probably the single most connected lodge in the US, if not the entire world," said Berkley Mosaic, Worhipful Master of Gateway Lodge No. 502, deep in the heart of Silicon Valley. "While other lodges have a DC, or Director of Ceremonies, we have a Director of Communications.."

WB Mosaic told The Past Bastard, "A lot of our members are tech users, and have moved in and out of the area as the work changes, and we want to keep the members informed and, more importantly, engaged. That's why, years before most lodges even had an email address, we already had a T1 line, optical fiber, and our own web server right in the second floor office. Our original web page was hand coded by some of the guys that actually contributed to the early Hypertext Markup standards, although now we just have a Wordpress template because it's easier to maintain from our mobiles."

The server closet houses the high tech equipment that
allows the members of Gateway Lodge No. 502
to remain in constant contact with each other.
The Director of Communications, WB Steve Case, told us,"Personally, while I don't mind the web page, it's static media. People don't communicate that way. Over the last ten or twelve years, we've been very heavy on 'push' information: we have automatic SMS and WhatsApp messages for reminders and meeting updates. We maintain a Google Hangout group for the building committee, and some of the guys abroad keep updated with our WeChat account. Naturally we have a Facebook page for listing meeting highlights, events, and stuff like that. One of our guys, Nathan Motif, built a social media aggregator that will send out the notices onto Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr, LinkdIn, Foursquare, Xanga, Instagram, MeWe, Google Plus, Vero, and LiveJournal."

"Nobody can possibly miss a notice with all this going on," WB Moasic added. "In fact, we have a voice transcription of the minutes, so right after the meetings, brothers get a PDF copy, and a link to a SoundCloud file where they can actually hear the minutes being read."

WB Mosaic went on to tell us, "Last year, we installed webcams at all the officers stations, plus near a few other seats in the sidelines, and set it up so that brothers elsewhere could connect on a digitally secure line, and watch the meetings in real time. It was great for some of the old-timers, too, who don't get out much anymore."

The Past Bastard asked WBs Mosaic and Case how much all the enhanced communication has increased attendance.

"Umm, yeah, that's the odd thing," WB Case said. "We don't quite understand it, but the attendance at meetings has actually dropped off. We thought it was a seasonal thing, but over the last couple of years, we hardly get anyone but officers attending, and sometimes they just Skype in from their home."

"Some people have suggested that giving the guys so much information has made it, well, unnecessary for them to even come to meetings anymore," said WB Mosaic, "but I find that hard to believe. We're writing up a SurveyMonkey to explore it this weekend."


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