FOREWORD – W Bro Omaid Hiwaizi SLGR Metropolitan Communications Officer
Communication with Purpose.
This edition of Arena was largely prepared before the social distancing measures were implemented by the UK government and the suspension of all masonic activities in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Our thoughts are with those directly affected by the virus and their families, and with all the key workers who are selflessly battling the pandemic.
In the last decade we have seen the active re-emergence of Freemasonry onto the media landscape: Grand Lodge imaginatively and proactively telling our story, espousing our values and correcting untruths when and where necessary.
In London my predecessor, David Neale, developed a communications team and approach that has given Metropolitan Grand Lodge a clear voice and greater presence. I am fortunate to inherit these foundations for our future approach. As our Metropolitan Grand Master rightly stated at the recent Annual meeting, David created: “a brand new team fit for the modern world of social media and our more open approach with the public, press and media”.
Building on this, we will first focus on membership, sharing inspiring stories that engage our members and make them proud, and on encouraging potential new members to find out more. In parallel, we will share more of our stories with the wider London public, which will increase understanding of our contribution and role.
Strategic communication with our specific goals in mind requires the right content and the most effective channels for our purpose. While Arena is the clearly the crown jewel of our touch points, how can we increase the exposure of this excellent content to our members, to prospective members and even to the wider public? Needless to say we will develop the way we use our digital platforms: our website(s), email and social media.
We have already seen the power of social media, with our recent Facebook post announcing the handover the first of two super-aerial appliances reaching an audience of well over 500,000. And the Facebook campaign for the Discover Freemasonry evening attracting over 900 hits via Facebook and resulting in 120 enquiries about membership.
There are many ways for you to get involved. Please engage actively and share copies of Arena as well as our posts on social media. Highlight any interesting things that happen in your units (eg. certificates, donations, family connections), take pictures and email to email@example.com. If you are a writer, designer, photographer, coder or have marketing or social media skills, now’s the moment to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and discuss how you might join the team.
As you will know, our Centres are closed and all events have been postponed or cancelled. This has led us to the decision not to print this edition, as it would be impossible to get it into your hands. This requires us to distribute it purely digitally – by email and social media – and we hope you find it interesting and inspiring. We are eager for your feedback on this format – necessity is the mother of invention.
Finally, we have already had sad news of the loss of Brethren and friends and wonderful stories of how Brethren have gone out of their way to help others in so many ways. We look forward to sharing those in a future edition.
W Bro Omaid Hiwaizi SLGR Metropolitan Communications Officer