Therefore, a “webmaster” could refer to the person who built the site and handles technical details, and/or the person / people within a company or organization charged with maintaining it on the front end.
Either way, a Webmaster is a person (or persons) ultimately responsible for the website.
In the Craft, it is the person who isn’t given any information but gets blamed when anything related to the Internet doesn’t get done. Seriously though, the role of the webmaster is undefined because of the changing nature of the web and the lack of digital literacy in the general membership. A webmaster is neither elected nor appointed officially, but a Brother (usually) who volunteers or is “volun-told” to take care of it, not being clear what exactly “it” is.
The Webmaster’s responsibility is most closely tied to one or more websites used by a particular lodge, district, or body. They may or may not develop it themselves, but see to it that it is developed and maintained in every aspect, technical and personal. Their duties include:
- Maintaining a record of administrative logins (domain registration, hosting, CMS , etc.) — see DAR
- Ensuring someone in the leadership of the group has access to this record, or a “second” for contingencies — see CURB
- Handling technical issues or being the liaison to whatever person(s) or company handles it, i.e. putting in support tickets when there is a problem
- Training others to use the CMS for adding and managing content they do not handle themselves
As the website is the cornerstone of a web presence and practice, a webmaster should have some relationship with anyone and everyone who handles Social Media or other digital assets (cloud, calendars, email account, list-serv, etc.). Such things are often integrated into a site, or the site content can be pushed out to these channels automatically. Therefore, a webmaster should expect cooperation from such individuals. But it works both ways — the webmaster should support the efforts of others in these areas and give guidance and training if possible.
Remember, to the average person, whatever happens even vaguely web-related will be associated with whoever is given the appellation “WebMaster”.
Caveat: It’s not the ideal, but a webmaster may be assigned that has solely technical skills and would not be trusted for whatever reason with the overall digital assets of the group. In this case it may be confusing to have someone else be considered the “webmaster” with the larger responsibilities while the guy doing “all the work” feeling slighted. The solution is one of diplomacy and tact, and might involve the appearance of having “co-webmasters”. However, there should always be a primary person in terms of ultimate responsibility and point of contact.
A lodge webmaster is the person who can demand and be given all necessary information to keep a website’s content current, regardless of whoever actually enters the information. They may or may not be a “digital trustee” with full administrative access, but should know who is at the very least. Ideally, a webmaster should aspire to take responsibility for the calendar, either doing it themselves or making sure the Secretary or other specific individual(s) do it. They should keep abreast of trends and technologies, such as the use automated phone trees, cloud repositories of downloadable files, Social Media, etc., and be willing to advise on such manners or bring in someone who can.
The full potential of a district webmaster is much greater, as it places them in the perfect position as a channel of two-way communication between lodges and Grand Lodge (but only in regards to digital media issues).
A full webmaster takes on many responsibilities, any of which they may delegate but are responsible for. They include:
- Maintaining a reasonably professional district website that meets basic standards and striving for best practices
- Receiving communications and guidance from Grand Lodge and provide Grand Lodge with information on district and lodges as necessary
- Changes in meeting locations, closed and merged lodges, and other information as may affect Grand Lodge website listings
- Local Masonic links
- Maintaining an accurate list of local webmasters and their contact information
- Being aware of, and able to access, all digital assets, including Social Media accounts and newsletters (even if responsibility for the asset is delegated)
- Providing resources as necessary and available to have lodges maintain viable web presences
- Providing guidance and training to local webmasters
“WebMaster” versus “webmaster”
An alternate way to handle this is to recognize a webmaster (small “w”) as an appointed task to create and/or maintain a web site, whereas a Webmaster (capital “W”) is an appointed (or possibly elected) position with specific responsibilities with regards to digital communications.
- an appointed (or possibly elected) position with specific responsibilities with regards to digital communications.
- should be based on leadership, communication skills, and reliability.
- needs only intermediate digital literacy, as they can appoint or assign work to the webmaster.
The more official “Webmaster” position may be vital to the future of digital communications, and therefore the Craft. It implies much larger duties than building or even overseeing. The general duties are to ensure provision of the tools necessary for communication within and without the boundaries of their jurisdiction (i.e. lodge, district, administrative region), as well as the necessary education to use digital media and its various tools. In Symbolic Lodge Masonry, the key is the districts, as they can aggregate local information for Grand Lodge and disseminate the state’s collective resources and requirements to the lodges. This ensures an ideal balance of consistency, autonomy, and shared responsibility.
- as an appointed position to create and / or maintain a web site…
- should be qualified in technical credentials…