Greetings to one and all in the Barony of the Citadel of the Southern Pass,
I hope all is well for you in these trying times knowing that many of us are facing challenges that are hindering our abilities to know happiness and joy as we once did. My prayers to you for mental health and well being while acknowledging that some of us are facing significant attacks upon our once stalwart walls of mind, body, and spirit.
I have taken some of my own steps towards ensuring mental well-being while taking advantage to the best of my abilities the fact that the BOD has placed us “on ice” as it were in terms of some of the things we are able to do as a group. I wanted to address these challenges a bit more and speak to the limitations placed on us by the BOD’s direction and even more so some of the self-imposed limitations the Seneschal and I agree upon 100% to ensure the safety and well-being of Their Royal Majesty’s populace in Citadel.
Firstly, I am not on Facebook. I know many of us think of Facebook as the platform for the SCA and I have had the opportunity to really understand how this has legged our organization in an effort to be open, accepting, and diverse. Even more now than ever our reliance upon Facebook as a venue for communications is hurting us; it is hurting our web presence, marketing, and sadly, relationships. Doxxing, hacking, political messaging, etc. are all temptations for those who take their passion for a topic too far. For my own safety completely unrelated to the SCA, I have had to disable my account and avoid use of the platform. I am still available always via Phone/Text (email me for my phone number!), Discord (Here), Email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and good ole fashion mail (email me for my address!); in fact I’ve started writing back and forth with some long lost friends rebuilding those connections and it has been wonderful.
My time away from Facebook has taught me how to really communicate on a human level again and I encourage others to assess how they’re talking to one another and if your message is really being sent and received. Are you being heard the way you believe you are? You may be surprised. Is there anger in your messaging because circumstances are not in our collective favor right now? These are things to consider to ensure you’re acting in an honorable and chivalric manner according to the ideals of our organization.
For several months during the pandemic we hosted virtual meetings, gatherings, and even some A&S activities. These events were not well attended and did not do credit to those who had spent the time organizing them so I made the decision as a leader to wind them down and focus our energy on supporting other groups who had the capacity and were already rolling on collaborative efforts to host online classes and other events. The virtual world and generating the content necessary for completely virtual events (and doing it well to the high SCA standard we’ve come to expect) takes a lot. I felt it was best to take a step back, charge our event stewards’ batteries, and fall in under the BOD’s directions. Some folks pressured me to host an “unofficial” fighter practice and “unofficial” meetings. I can’t do anything unofficially while wearing the coronet. That is to say, that if my name is tied to something, it has the appearance of being official and in today’s world we are creatures driven by perception.
Part of the reason why some of our events were not well attended virtually in the beginning comes full circle to my virtual walkabout in life without Facebook; and I’ll fully admit I was part of the problem myself. We have become terrible at communicating. The SCA doesn’t have the advertising budget (Read: zero…) to compete with some of these other organizations that use paid SEO and ads to snag members and activity. We can SEO the crap out of our websites and social media platforms, but that is a significant effort that not a lot of people know how to do and those who do know how are generally getting paid reaaaaaally well to do it.
So what good are these lessons and epiphanies if we don’t do anything with them? Well, there’s the feel good portion of it, but ya’ll know I’m a being of action. To that end, the Seneschal and I have discussed how we’re going to address some of the perception of inactivity, because trust me, we’re both still here doing stuff and taking care of Baronial business to ensure this thing kicks into high gear when we come back up from this.
We’re going to hammer down on some of the information issues we’ve been facing. A lot of this is going to be how we share information and educating people on Corpora and what we really can’t flex on when it comes to business rules. You’ll see me writing more letters like this one to keep up with the latest news. It’s also part of our effort to refocus on the website to get folks ready for how business will operate once we’re fully back.
Stay safe you wonderful human beings! If you ever need anything, you can always reach out to me … just not on Facebook … for now. Phone, email, and carrier pigeon. I’d love to see someone pull that last one off.
HE Bernardo dei Medici