The Social Media of Medievalness
Gees. Where to start.
Been some interesting things happening within our hobby the last few days. Our Kingdom page fractures into two and the SCA, noted for anti-social media aspirations, launches an official Facebook and Twitter site. Well the good thing about the latter is, it’s a REALLY cool page! Whoever they have running it, man they have got it down. So far there are some really fun topics. I think it’s going to be such a great push in recruitment to have a good solid page like that.
As far as the others, I don’t know. It seems like some are run by people who want to keep things all to themselves. Which is why our Kingdom page split. The original page was known as very heavy handed moderation wise. I was really surprised at how many of my SCA friends had left the first Kingdom page because of that. I think most of us just tried to ignore that until the recent happening, that I shall call ‘SecretGate’.
For probably the last four or five years, I have constantly read that the SCA’s membership is dwindling. Costs have increased for membership in an already fairly expensive hobby. A lot of people have either become online members, participating with their friends by way of email groups and Facebook, or they have left Society entirely. So, what is the best way to get members? You recruit. And how do you recruit. You use the best technologies at hand. Before the internet, I imagine it may have been going to colleges and leaving fliers.
But now? It’s definitely online. I found this place on the internet. I was doing a search on something Roman and came across ‘Society for Creative Anachronism’ and a blurb about a very famous Duke from the West that had a Roman Court. Apologies I cannot for the life of me remember his name right now. So, I started my search. I assumed this group was something only in one area. But no! It was not only all over the United States, it was Global. I found my local group. Unfortunately, the Chatelaine indicated to me that this Barony was not very welcoming of new people and I should try the Barony across of the river. Okay – I did and found a wonderful Barony and my journey began.
Fast forward to today. There are so many platforms for getting people into our hobby. Facebook and Twitter being the two biggest followed by various special interest forums. And then Society becomes very wary of any social media and all Facebook pages have to have unofficial disclaimers. Some people say it has to do with all the lawsuits that have been brought against us, some say it’s Society wanting control over everything. I’m sure it lies somewhere in between plus a variety of other things we aren’t even privy too. But, there it was. No official avenues.
That of course didn’t keep people from finding their various Kingdoms or even the unofficial SCA page. And then on our Kingdom page someone made the decision that we needed to be protected from the outside world and made the group Secret. The levels of ridiculousness of this. We don’t do anything that deems the need for our Kingdom page to be secret. If anything, that would make outsiders more suspect of who we are. It was mentioned about protecting the privacy of the members. Well guess what folks, if you are that worried about what you say being seen, you shouldn’t be on any social media site in the first place.
The thing that most surprised me about this change were some of the higher level Kingdom members that couldn’t see why this was a big deal. I mean, I was seriously shocked to read some of what they said. Here you have the biggest recruitment opportunity – that is FREE, and you’d actually question why it was a big deal to make a page invite only? Things spiraled downhill when the person who made the change continued to remain silent and members were lost. Sadly, some people didn’t have much care about that either. It was a few people. There were still 2000 other members to talk too. Really? Sorry but those people matter.
So a kind gentle created a new page. And it has a good feel of a new start. Sure, not everyone is going to move over and that is fine. In fact, I’m still on both pages. Until the second page gets more established, there is still Kingdom news there. And of course now we have two Society pages. One that is official one that is not. It seems to me that there are some ruffled feathers about that. One thing I’ve noticed is that there are a certain group of people who seem to feel the Society is solely theirs and if you infringe upon that watch out. Seems like some of them tend to be in moderating roles. They are the types that say, if you don’t like such and such, go start your own group, your own page, your own whatever. And there will always be the issues of internet use and not being able to speak in person. Sometimes people seem like jerks when they aren’t – it’s just how things are written. It’s happened to me. But constantly exhibiting that behavior?
So, where does it leave us? Well, I hope that the higher level Kingdom people realize that they have two choices. Recruit and expand or don’t and dwindle away. The tools are there. The people are waiting to be found. It seems to me that it’s not that difficult. So why is it?
The original Social Media, the Roman Forum