Rotary Name Badges

 Cliff Dochterman has a chapter in his book, As I was Saying, where he talks about Rotarians and their obsession with ribbons. One of the many highlights is when Cliff explains that a person with seven ribbons can talk to God; and if they have eight ribbons God will answer. Have more than eight ribbons and Frank Devlyn will talk to you because, let’s face it, Frank talks to everyone.

Now it seems a similar mystique and fascination exists with Rotary related name badges, especially outside of the club environment. Discounting the occasional sighting of an Assistant Governor at a regular club meeting (and presuming that he/she is in actuality wearing their name badge), probably the first encounter when a rank and file Rotarian runs across an alien name badger is at the District Assembly. At this event there are all sorts of esoteric titles being bandied around, you are only limited to your imagination as to the scope of the entitlements.
There are Committee Chairs galore; most likely for everything you can find in the Sears/Roebuck catalogue there is a Committee Chair for it somewhere in the world. And, of course, all of these Committee Chairs have a name badge of some sort. Now we say “of some sort” because some of the name badges not only are not from the current Rotary year but are not necessarily from the current decade. There is the philosophy of “you are what you used to be”. So do not be surprised when you meet the Chair of Outhouse Restoration.

Friending on

A couple of you have noticed that friend requests have disappeared from Many of you may not have noticed. Here’s why they have gone…

The concept of “friends” here on did not have the same meaning that it does on Facebook, and it caused confusion as a result.

Any member of ROSNF here on can see your profile and posts, whether they were a “friend” or not. Most aspects of the members are no longer visible to anyone who does not have an account on, but once you log in, you can see just about everything. The only things that are restricted within the membership are:

  1. Private messages – visible only to you and the person you messaged
  2. Anything that is posted in a private group for each of our committees

Being a “friend” of someone enabled you to do the following 2 things:

  • Filter the recent activity stream to only show posts by your “friends” (you had to visit your own profile to click on the “Friends” feed
  • Invite someone to join a group – which only really applies to the admins of the committees.

Neither of those were critical, nor used much at all.

A few of our members expressed the view that they were uncomfortable about receiving friend requests here on, and they requested that the functionality be turned off. They were ok with friend requests on Facebook, but did not want to have to deal with friend requests here.

A poll of members on our Facebook group showed that those in favour of removal of the friend function here far outweighed those who liked it.

And so, the friend function has been disabled.

ROSNF Chair Chat July 10

Fellow ROSNF members:

In my first chat, I’d like to summarize the events of a very busy week. First the new board consisting of 11 members has been confirmed and is published here.

The new board has been very busy brainstorming on a number of issues including goals, committees, ongoing projects, and more. Jon Deisher has volunteered to be our Parliamentarian, to help the board more efficiently handle issues in orderly manner without letting some things get lost.

Thanks to Simone for organizing this new blog which I hope members will find useful. Thanks to Mel and Mary Kathryn for getting ROSNF bank account opened with $440 from donations and ROSNF button sales at the RI Convention in New Orleans.

The proposed list of ROSNF goals under discussion includes the following:

1. Sponsor campaign with training and contest to encourage Rotary and Rotaract clubs to create pages on Facebook to communicate with club members and also with the public at large.

2. Sponsor ROSNF Booth, general meeting, social event, and workshop classes on social networking at the RI Convention in Bangkok.

3. Engage more members in ROSNF working committees and fellowship activities to grow and retain membership.

4. Implement first ROSNF Facebook application for use by Rotarians and Rotaractors to assist in locating and networking with others on Facebook. This application will also connect with RI One Rotary database to access district and club information in real time.

Next week I hope we can finalize initial set of goals and committees so committees can expand and get to work on goals.

Two other activities of particular note this week include Rotary Survey Lab which is a group of 20 volunteers working on development of survey about how RI can help clubs and Rotarians improve communications. This survey effort grew out of a discussion on the RI Discussion Group on LinkedIn. Three ROSNF board members, Simone, Philip, and I are participating in this group which includes several RI staff members.

Another project starting up is the evaluation of the new social network launched by Google called Google+. A number of ROSNF members are already on the pilot implementation and I’m sure there will be lots of discussion about it in weeks to come. I think Google is a worthy competitor, and both Facebook and Google users will benefit going forward.

This is an exciting time for ROSNF members which now number 873 up from 852 a week ago. Members are encouraged to participate in discussions on the ROSNF Member Forums, ROSNF Facebook group , or ROSNF LinkedIn group. I also hope many members will get involved and volunteer to work on the ROSNF committees. This year we will continue to look for ways that we can utilize social networks to help look within to embrace humanity. Feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

Don Higgins

ROSNF Chair 2011-2012

Member of the Month: June

Don Higgins

Our last Member of the Month for 2010-11 is our 2011-12 Fellowship Chair: Don Higgins!

Don is one of the founders of the Rotarians on Social Networks Fellowship, and has worked tirelessly for ROSNF since January 2009.

It is hard to encapsulate just how much Don does for the Fellowship. He quietly does a lot of work behind the scenes – a lot of the smooth running of ROSNF is thanks to his ongoing dedication.

Don was the webmaster of our original website at, which served us well for 2 years. His work on the website laid the foundation for the information that now appears on

Don co-ordinated our activities at our first Rotary International Convention as an official fellowship, in New Orleans, including a booth in the House of Friendship.

All the best Don for your year as ROSNF Chair! Thank you for all you do!

ROSNF: Not just a website

We have been surveying our members about our Fellowship, and the main feedback we seem to be getting has been eye-opening: our members, on the whole, don’t really understand what we offer.

We asked for feedback about ROSNF, and received very specific feedback about, including several comments from members saying they couldn’t see any benefit to being a member. What did we offer that wasn’t already available on Facebook or LinkedIn?

There seems to be a huge misconception that ROSNF =, even though our Fellowship’s existence has pre-dated the website by a good 2 years unofficially / 6 months from time of charter.

Our website is just one component of the fellowship, and is a launching pad rather than the totality of what we do.

We have very specifically decided NOT to reinvent the wheel on We agree that Facebook and LinkedIn are the best social networks for connecting, and we encourage members to add links to their profiles and pages on, and to launch off to our ROSNF groups / page or member profiles / club pages from there. We do have a small social network (that first and foremost is our member database) so members can interact regardless of which networks they prefer, but it is not intended that it replace discussions etc on LinkedIn or Facebook. But facilitating discussions between Rotarians and Rotaractors is just one aspect of the Fellowship – there is much, much more to us that that.

Our unique selling point – what we offer that is not available anywhere else in the Rotary world, and what I see currently as our primary purpose – is that we provide comprehensive education and practical training about social networking, for all levels of experience:

  • Don’t know what social networking is, or why you should try it out? We help allay people’s fears and misconceptions – our members regularly give talks and seminars at club and district meetings, and I’ve recently spent 2 days training Rotary staff in Sydney. All except one of the panelists on RI’s social media webinars in February 2011 were ROSNF members.
  • Just starting out? We help members get to grips with the different social networks, and the different aspects of Facebook. We explain one-on-one or in the different forums or in articles things like what the difference is between a group and a page, or a Facebook group vs a LinkedIn group, and where you can find Rotarians on the different platforms. We regularly post articles on our Facebook page, with a selection available on our Support & Training page. If you’d like personal help, you can ask questions in our discussion groups here on, on Facebook or LinkedIn, or look up a volunteer “Expert” in a particular platform, or the “Champion” for your district.
  • More comfortable with using social networking? We’ll give you tools and tips to really use the networks and apps effectively, and we’ll help give a leg-up such as the “Hug a Club” project to help get your club up to the magic 25 fans to get a vanity URL. This week we’ll be commencing a new blog series where members will share insights about what works for them in a wide variety of areas.
  • If you’re a pro, then we offer you the opportunity to use your expertise to help others who are just starting out. We provide a central hub where you can be found by those that need your help to get their toes wet, and you can pick and choose what you’d like to help out, whether it is with being a mentor (“Expert”) on a specific site such as LinkedIn, or helping us program new apps. You can sign up as a District or Zone champion and take on the challenge to get social media adopted widely in your local area.

Board member Mary Kathryn DeLodder provides a great analogy. She writes: “It reminds me of a phrase we use in the church world a lot– we (the members) are the church, the church is not the building. In the same way, our members need to understand that they are what makes the fellowship work, and they are what make it fun!”

Member of the Month: May

Our Member of the Month for May 2011 is: Guz Goh.

Guz has volunteered to lead our Public Relations committee, and through that role, Guz arranged the production of and very generously donated our wonderful ROSNF “Like” badges which debuted at the recent RI Convention.

Guz also plays an active role in welcoming new members and keeping an eye out for spammers.

Thank you for your generosity Guz, and your very inspiring messages on our boards!


This is a topic that comes up repeatedly here on, either through numerous private messages to me, in discussion threads on the forums, or as updates (statuses), or on our Facebook group, my Facebook private message, through my email, on LinkedIn… I try to answer as many as I can, but since it comes up so much, I thought I’d address it as a post here, since the announcements I have sent and other posts I have made don’t seem to be adequately communicating with you what the situation is.

We do get the occasional spammer slipping through, and we ban them as soon as we detect them, which is usually within minutes of them joining. We (the admins) are aware of the emails sent by “Jessy”, “Jenifer” and “Mrs Ellen David”, as we received them too, so you don’t need to email us about it. We know about them. 🙂

It is much harder than you may think to be able to vet members here. Some legitimate Rotarians have what I consider to be dodgy email addresses and have no idea what their district number is, and a rather large number of you have only provided a single name, not your surname as well. Some spammers do a very good job of looking legitimate, with a full name, legitimate email address and credible Rotary details. Rotarian spouses are especially difficult to vet. It’s possible that I have denied membership to some that are in fact Rotarians, and some that are not Rotarians make it through the email activation process, and end up being spammers. It is a very tough job to do!

We deal with spammers as quickly as we can – we have 6 admins in different time zones who look out for that behaviour. We are doing the best job we can, especially with a membership on this site surpassing 700 with numerous new people joining every day. Most spammers get stopped at the email activation stage, which is the first spam control measure. Those that do provide a real email address and make it past that step usually get picked up as soon as we receive notification of a new member joining as we go and check their profiles to ensure they are legitimate. Unfortunately some join at a time when no admins are online, and they may manage to get some spam sent before we find them and remove them.

If you receive a private message that appears to be spam, just delete it. We will deal with the spammer as soon as one of us is able to. Chances are that by the time you complain about the message, they have been long gone from the site, marked as a spammer and deleted.

Please be mindful that with the RI Convention on right now, we are having masses of people signing up to join the Fellowship, and the admins really have their work cut out for them with so many people joining at once. Three of our 6 admins are currently at NOLA so there are just 3 of us able to check for spammers at the moment, so it may take a little longer than usual for us to be able to deal with them, because 2 of us still at home are in the same time zone (GMT+8).

So please… rest assured that we are doing the best job that we can, and deal with spammers as quickly as possible. We have a large number of members joining every day, and while it may feel like many spammers are making it in, they are a drop in the ocean compared to the legitimate members joining every day. Our site has not been compromised in any way – the small number of spammers who do get in are humans (not bots) who have taken the time to enter enough real data that they make it through all the security measures that are in place to limit spammers.

UPDATE – 28 May 2011
We are trying out a new plug in that we hope will solve the problem of spammers making it through the activation process and sending emails.

ROSNF at the RI Convention

It’s not long now until the RI Convention in New Orleans will open! For those who will be there here’s some information on ROSNF and social networking at the Convention.

Visit the ROSNF Booth in House of Friendship

Location: Booth 1190 – New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

The opening ceremony for House of Friendship will be Saturday 21st May 2011 at 1:30 PM.

Don Higgins, ROSNF Chair-Elect for 2011-2012 and ROSNF Chair of RI Convention Committee 2010-2011, will be there and hopes to meet many of you there to open the ROSNF Booth together.

Can you spare some time to help man the booth? Please register to help with the booth here.

1st ROSNF Annual General Meeting

Date & Time: Monday, 23rd May 2011 at 16.00 – 18:00

Venue: Room 384, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

RSVP on Facebook

Convention Workshops on Social Networking

A number of ROSNF members will be panelists in these sessions.

  • Monday, 23 May, Session 1 – 14:00-15:00 – Social Media Basics – E Club
  • Monday, 23 May, Session 2 – 15:30-16:30 – New Technologies for Club Communication
  • Tuesday 24 May, Session 2 – 10:30-11:30 – Using Social Media to Promote Rotary
  • Tuesday 24 May, Session 2 – 10:30-11:30 – Interact in the Age of Social Media
  • Wednesday 25 May, 14:00-15:00 – Using Social Media to Promote Rotary (repeat session)