I've been working in the digital quarries for a long time. It's been fun and rewarding at times and frustrating and infuriating as hell at times. We can all, each Mason from the early to mid 2000's, remember the controversies and crazy news of that era. Grand Orients being formed in the US, high profile embarrassing cases, and even crazier crazies on our Masonic forums. Then the crash hit and it was fairly obvious to me that a lot of the air was let out of the bag. Why focus on the troubles of Freemasonry when there was trouble in the home. Yet, in all difficult situations, there was a silver lining. The rancor and derision seemingly disappeared.
Well, I'm sad to report that the trolling is back. What's even stranger is that the new battleground is Facebook. I'm still not sure what to make of this. Ya see, ya young pups, back in the Masonic forum and blogging days, no one needed to have their name attached to their comments. We had more secret identities than the DC universe. People would create anonymous blogs, post their rantings, and then fly off into the night, creating nothing of any real value.
Now, we have Masonic Facebook groups, where brothers engage in discussions. Most of them are idiotic or inane: points in or out, eww... gurl Masons, why are you posting architectural pics on a Masonic Facebook group? Some get down right offensive, with racial slurs being used. And these guys are supposed to be Masons!
What shocks me even more is that these guys are using their Facebook name when making these statements. Literally, I have a face to go along with the guy complaining about having to sit in lodge with a brother who is black.
We are supposed to be dispensers of light and truth but almost every Facebook forum, from All Things Masonic (one of the worst) to Masonic World Wide (Not as bad) has a huge number of trolls, unafraid to attach their reputation to vile statements. It's just strange to me.
|Courtesy of Tom A.|
Strangely enough, the best Masonic forum still remains /r/freemasonry. (Full disclosure I'm a mod there) What's strange about Reddit is that anonymity is part of the game. Reddit feels more like a community. We are there to share our lives and our interests in the Fraternity. If you want to attach where you're from, you add some flair stating that. If you have something to say that may get you in trouble but still needs to be said, create a throwaway account. Sure, things get heated at times but not really. So often, an argument will end with a bro hug and a well wish to come visit his lodge.
Tom A. makes the point that, since Reddit skews younger, we don't have the same set in cement attitudes as found in other places. I tend to agree. For young men, Masonry represents a community. It's not just a navel gazing endeavor of individual pursuit, where you get the secrets from someone else and lock them away. Masonry represents the working of everyone's stone. Reddit provides that experience.
If you haven't tried Reddit or have visited /r/freemasonry, you really ought to. And not only the main Freemasonry subreddit but also visit /r/yorkrite, /r/scottishrite, /r/afterlodge, /r/Masonicdadjokes, /r/shriners, and /r/Demolay. All of these sub offer a community with little rancor but lots of light (and a ton of memes... but only on Monday.)
What do you think? Has Facebook Masonry turned you off to e-Masonry? Leave a comment below.