Dayton Livestream Photo

The Valley of Dayton gathers to watch the SRNMJ Livestream. 12/10/18

With our interactive broadcasts, such as Thursday Night at the Rite, Join the Rite Night, and our upcoming Giving Tuesday Telethon, our hope is to create connection and bring the brotherhood together. The interactive conversations while on air are lively, interesting, and informative. But the Valley of Dayton takes it a step further. They host watch parties with in-person follow-up discussions for Brothers in the Valley.

The idea is such a good one, and so easily replicable throughout the NMJ, that we called Randolph (Randy) Clark, 33° PDDGM Executive Secretary/Chief Operating Officer at the Valley of Dayton, and discussed what he learned from organizing watch parties, and what he could pass on to the rest of the jurisdiction interested in following suit.

Below are 5 easy tips for throwing a livestream watch party!

1. Utilize Your Space, As Only You Know How

Truly anywhere with internet access and appropriate seating space will suffice. This can be a lodge's multipurpose room, lodge hall, or even a Brother's home! Dayton has used their billiard/bar room for these watch parties, as they have televisions with internet access already in place. If your lodge has a multipurpose media room that can hold those in attendance, we recommend using that space. However, depending on the available space, and the crowd, a lodge hall may even be used. Short notice, or want the event to be a little more casual? Perhaps a particularly generous Brother could host a watch party at his home.

2. Get the Word Out

Let your members know about the watch party. Each Valley and lodges have different channels of communication. Utilize whatever means you have, and are most comfortable with. That can be email, social media, word of mouth, or a good old-fashioned flier announcing your party.

Dayton sent an email blast to Valley membership (they use Constant Contact), and also sent a notice to the local lodges inviting their members to attend. Additionally, they created multiple posts on their Facebook page. If possible, create a way for attendees to RSVP online, so you can have an idea of how many are coming. One can use services like Survey Monkey to create RSVPs, or simply ask people to comment on social media posts if they are attending or not.

3. Make it an Event

Have a plan for the night. Entice Brothers to join the watch party, not just for the livestream, but for the experience of connection and conversation with fellow Masons. It does not have to be elaborate or expensive, simply gathering together with your Brothers can make for a special evening. Dayton, for example, meets in the lodge 30 minutes before with light refreshments and snacks. During this time, one could speak about the agenda for the livestream, and what those in attendance are looking forward to.

4. Interact With Your Watch Party and the Livestream

All viewers of the livestream have the opportunity to ask questions in real-time from wherever they are. Our host and guests on the livestream do their best to answer each and every question submitted. As a watch party, one could field questions from the group and submit them via the livestream chat feature. This can be a great way to facilitate audience interaction, and speak to us all the way in Massachusetts! We often release new material during streams, what better time to view it than you with your Brothers?

5. Post Livestream, Keep The Conversation Going In-Person and Online

After the livestream ends, keep the energy flowing. Have a follow-up discussion on the topic with your group. It's a great way to connect and forge bonds between Brothers. The conversation does not have to end at the watch party. The Valley of Dayton encourages its members watching at home to join the conversation by posting wrap up thoughts online through social media, and sending links to the livestream and any other videos released. They even provide suggestions for how Brethren can use the videos in their own lodge efforts!

Following the example from the Valley of Dayton, these tips can help you create your own watch-party.