Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Count me as a great believer in the power of the Internet and social media.
Young men and women born in the 1980’s and 1990’s, in particular, rely heavily on the Internet and social media as their eyes on the world and as their primary means of both information and communication. A remarkably large percentage of the population in the United States (and this is not restricted just to those in their 20’s and 30’s) use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and others). Here are some recent statistics (garnered from the Pew Research Center and Bloomberg Business) that may amaze you:
- 74% of online users in America use social media sites. This cuts across both sexes, all races, all income levels and all levels of education.
- In terms of age ranges, 89% of 18-29 use social media, 82% of 30-49 use social media, 65% of 50-64 use social media, and 49% of those 65 and over use social media.
- 40% use social networking on their mobile cell phones.
- And 67% of those in the 18-29 age use their cell phones for social networking; 50% of those in the 30-49 age range use their cell phones for social networking.
- The average American spends 40 minutes each day on Facebook (compared to 39 minutes each day taking care of their pets).
- Google is growing in use by 33% per year. Twitter is growing in use by 44% per year.
- The average American spends 16 minutes per hour on social networking sites.
People in America, of all ages, extensively use search engines like Google to find things and to get information. They don’t thumb through the yellow pages to find a business; instead, they “Google” it. They go on-line to get their news, international, national and local. They use various websites to order products. They use their cell phones to text and send photos to their friends. They use social media sites (on their desktops, laptops, tablets and cell phones) to communicate with their family and colleagues. They spend time on an assortment of social media to “talk” to friends. And this trend increases each and every year.
Why am I telling you all this?
Many of our Lodges seem rather oblivious to this modern reality. And because of this disconnect, Odd Fellowship has become the Amish of organizations in America. Many of our Lodges are still traveling around in a horse-and-buggy world – while the rest of America is on a bullet train.
The reality is that Odd Fellows Lodges – to a large extent – are disconnected from an entire generation of Americans. Why do I say this? Because we have Lodges in our Order: that have no website, that have no e-mail connectivity to their membership, that produce Lodge newsletters in hard-copy only and not on-line, that have no connection whatsoever to any social media. And most telling of all, we have Lodges in our Order where the youngest member is in his/her 60’s. Many of our Lodges have become Lodges of grandfathers and grandmothers. If someone wants to join our Order, they have to fill out a form in hard-copy; there is no on-line form. Lodges still have to submit annual reports in hard-copy; we lack an on-line process to do so. Even our membership cards are hard-copy. We continue to do things like we were living in 1945.
But we are in 2015. And unless we upgrade and modernize, we will remain forever mired in 1945. We will continue to attract the generation that loved Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante, rather than a generation that listens to Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift.
If you have a moment, please pay a visit to the Davis Lodge website at www.davislodge.org. The site was recently modernized and upgraded by Lodge Webmaster Stewart Savage, and I think you will find it of interest. Note how it is interconnected to various social media. The website provides a storehouse of information and knowledge about Odd Fellowship in general and about the Lodge specifically. The site is user-friendly, and is attractive to the young men and women Odd Fellowship needs to reach.
F – L – T
Deputy Grand Master