IAO 131 (iao131) wrote in clerk_house,
IAO 131
iao131
clerk_house

Promulgation: Creating a Virtual Presence for the Local Body

Promulgation of the Law of Thelema comes in many forms, from the general to the particular, global to the local. It is certainly most effective to focus on both global (e.g. a general website about Thelema) and local promulgation, but this list focuses on local promulgation. This means what is effective at promulgating Thelema in your local community.

The center of promulgation of Thelema in your local community is your local OTO body. Everything should emanate outwards from this operation. The OTO naturally promulgates the Law through initiation, ritual, classes, etc. and so promuglation at the local level is essentially making as many people as possible aware of your local body. The body must have some kind of presence for people to even be aware that it exists. This presence can be effectively split into virtual and physical presence. Since maintaing a physical presence - a physical space being acquired, events being hosted, masses & initiations being performed, reading/promulgation materials being distributed, etc. - is a common practice and subject of discussion, I will focus on how one creates a virtual presence to help promote the local body.

Virtual presence

In this technological age, a virtual presence for the local body is virtually a necessity (sorry, bad pun!), yet in spite of the obvious benefit of maintaining this virtual presence, as of writing this (June 3, 2010) one in every five local bodies (18% to be exact) listed on the USGL website do not have a functioning website. This is simply the basic website that every body should have to allow people searching on the internet to find their local body (e.g. if someone types in "chicago ordo templi orientis," it would be a failure of one's virtual presence if there were no website for them to find, and one would potentially lose a new member).

Here is a basic list of things the local body can do to maintain a virtual presence:
  • WebsiteOTO Promulgation
  • Social networking
  • Internet outreach/postings
  • Internet media
a) Website

With a website, we have a central hub for people searching the internet for OTO in their local area. The website should include, at the very least, clear contact information (i.e. the Master or Secretary's e-mail) and a calendar of events. In this way, someone searching the internet would be able to find their local body, contact them, and even make plans to attend the next event. As of writing this (6/3/2010), about 16% of local bodies do not have contact information readily available and 36% - over 1 in 3 - either do not have a calendar or their calendar is not updated to include current events.

b) Social networking

In this time, even major corporations like car companies are directing people to their Facebook page and not their website. Anyone who has paid any attention the last few years knows the ubiquity of social networking. Whether people have grasped its potential power for promulgation is another question.

Currently, only around half of local bodies (52%) maintain a Facebook page of some sort (a fan page or group). Of these, only a few regularly post their events schedule. The immense utility of Facebook for promulgation is hard to express: one can easily link hundreds and even thousands of people to one's page and instantaneously let them know about your upcoming events & RSVP easily, spread Thelemic quotes, allow interaction & an internet community to grow, and more. Setting up a Facebook page and feeding the normal information through this page (events schedule, contact information, announcements, etc.) is an easy way to step up promulgation, and it takes little effort to create.

I've only mentioned Facebook since it is the largest social networking site at the moment, but there are other options. MySpace still has a relatively large user base, and many bodies still maintain their MySpace profiles. There are also websites like Meetup.com where one can sign up to have meetups posted, invite people, and has easy RSVPing. All of these can be utilized, though one should pick & choose one's battles since it is very easy to spread oneself thin over too many mediums. In general the idea is to create a closed loop: someone who finds the website should easily be able to get to the Facebook page from there, and vice versa.

c) Internet outreach/postings

There are many ways to have a virtual presence other than a website or social networking profile. One way is to use a blog site (like Blogspot or Wordpress) or microblogging (Twitter) to put out relevant messages. People searching for certain phrases will potentially come upon your posts and, if that page links back to the website or Facebook profile, will help drive internet traffic to your body.

Another option is to find websites and lists that will  carry event announcements. There are various pagan/occult/metaphysical lists online(e.g. 'witchvox') along with more general sites such as Craigslist which will let you post public announcements. In general, the more ways for someone to find your body online, the better, but again it is possible to over-stretch your efforts and, for example, forget to update the calendar of events or Facebook profile for a while.

d) Internet media

The website of the local body can also get traffic if it hosts some kind of material that is unique. This can come in the form of an online newsletter, an online library, audio material, or more. Certain local bodies like Sekhet-Maat Lodge host rare Aleister Crowley documents so if people search for these documents, they will find Sekhet-Maat Lodge. Other bodies have newsletters or journals they produce which could potentially be put online to drive traffic to their website. There are also possibilities with audio and video content such as recorded lectures which could also drive traffic to websites.

By combining all of these efforts, a local body would maintain a main website with calendar, contact, & different types of media, maintain a Facebook profile (and other social networking sites where applicable), and post events on various lists. In this way, the local body creates a virtual presence that lets people know "we exist." The very fact of having a website with up-to-date information also gives the image of being professional, savvy, and active. Aside from this, it allows for people around the world to potentially share your website with others, interact with posts on Facebook (through comments, Likes, sharing, etc.), and generally create a virtual community to help funnel interest & attention to the local body.
Tags: promulgation
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