Online Masonry?!? The Horror!
NOTE: Was actually going to post this a few weeks ago, but it lingered in my Draft box until I could put some more thought in what I wanted to impart.
So the Internet is all a-flutter over the recent discussions on Masonic blogs and social media pages regarding "Virtual Freemasonry" or "Online Masonry." People are up in arms over the recent, and oftentimes, thought provoking conversations that ensue around the topic of practicing Freemasonry in a digital setting.
This is not a new phenomenon, and from this author's perspective, I hope it does not go away anytime soon. From audio to video podcasts, live social media feeds, and the explosion of blogging by Freemasons, all these trends have culminated in the inevitable: meeting Masons from other places in a common, and online, Freemasonic experience is a growing phenomenon. Targeted online meetings where Masons can gather and learn, discuss, and share experiences about the Craft are becoming more prevalent.
The Masonic-blog-o-sphere is very healthy, and produces content almost every day for the voracious reader of all things Masonic. Staples like "The Midnight Freemasons" and "Freemasons for Dummies" have years' worth of content and reading material. The newly raised Brother would do well to add these to their RSS feeds or blog readers and keep up to date with news and opinions about the State of the Craft in general.
NOTE: I heard about this new blog called "From Darkness to Light" which seems really cool! You should check that out as well! 😊
Leaving the land of online reading materials, we move into multimedia-based Masonry. Watching and interacting with Masonic podcasts are a very popular way in which Brothers can share light with one another in an more interactive environment. The "go-to" podcasts for Masonic education have to be "The Masonic Roundtable," "Whence Came You," "X-Oriente," and "The Winding Stairs Freemasonry Podcast." Regularly scheduled episodes, most of which allow for social media interaction in YouTube or Facebook, allow people all over the world to listen, discuss, and partake in the sharing of opinions and knowledge about Freemasonry. All of these podcasts listed, and the host of others that are available on social media or podcast apps, touch on relevant topics, controversial issues, and lessons of morality useful to everyone, not just members of the Fraternity.
Finally, we come to online Masonic gatherings and Communications. Brethren entering a meeting by web conference and video chat is a growing popular trend. Two of the most well-received and well-attended online meetings are those held by Castle Island Virtual Lodge and the Kansas Lodge of Research. Amazing presentations, worldwide attendance, and light business keep these online venues focused on what's most important: Masonic education and research.
I'll always hold the belief that online Freemasonry will never replace the experience of sitting in Lodge or conferring a degree, but the recent uptick is Brethren suffering from a lack education in most Lodges creates situations where they need to seek this education elsewhere. They obviously are not getting it in their Lodges, and have to find it someplace else. It's a good thing to provide options for people yearning for education and research. Thankfully, we've had the innovative technology known as the Internet to thank for places where these folks can learn, meet new Brothers, and expand their knowledge base.
~~ FDTL ~~