I will willingly acknowledge that I am not a huge fan of Facebook… that said, I’m also willing to acknowledge that a number of Granges have created pages and a number of members are “on” Facebook. One of my major issues with Facebook is the lack of privacy that results… I recently discovered, for example, that at least two of my “friends” are involved with an online dating service. (I thought one of them was married!)
Anyway, before we talk about Facebook Pages you may be creating for your Grange, let me just remind you that your behavior on Facebook may well reflect on your Grange. You are a Grange Ambassador! Please think before you post!
In February 2011 National Grange recognized the growth of social media and the National Grange Executive Committee adopted a website and social media “code of conduct.” The code is part of the Maine State Grange Web Policy, but let me share a few points from it with a few editorial comments.
All websites, Facebook groups or pages, and all other internet based social media platforms representing the Grange must be under the jurisdiction of a Subordinate/Community, Pomona, or State Grange.
In short, an individual should not just decide to start a Facebook page on behalf of his or her Grange. There are many good reasons for this, but let’s focus on the fact that the page is representing the Grange–not an individual. As such, members should be engaged and involved in order to assure the page is monitored and posts and comments are appropriate. This also helps if the original member loses interest because there will be others ensuring the page/group is kept up-to-date.
No partisan or sectarian comments, opinions, statements, or endorsements may be posted on the website or page.
For reasons sociologists are still exploring, many people feel very free to make bold, sometimes outlandish statements on social media. If your Grange has a Facebook page or group, members should be monitoring themselves and the page to make certain inappropriate comments are not being posted. If the page is identified as a “Grange page,” one person’s opinion should not be represented as Grange thinking.
Note that these guidelines apply to websites as well. Regardless of the venue, we need to keep our Grange Face smiling and positive. That’s not to say there is no room for “healthy debate”–in fact (lecturers note!) I’ve had one or two folks suggest we might consider more debates as part of our programming.
One additional thought: The National Grange Style Book includes the statement, “For external purposes, you may refer to the Subordinate Grange as a Community Grange or pluralized as local Granges.” We truly do have our own language in the Grange… but we might well consider the impact our language has on others. Step outside tradition and habit and ask yourself if most people would be more inclined to be involved in a “Subordinate Grange” or a “Community Grange.”
I thought so! Want to take it one step further? I actually had someone (not a Granger) recently explain that she thought “Grange Meeting” meant members only, but that a “Grange Program” was for everyone. So just maybe instead of Subordinate Grange Meetings we ought to be promoting Community Grange Programs!