The idea for a Social Networking fellowship was initially seeded during discussions between Simone Collins  and Philip Merritt in January 2009 after the Rotarians on the Internet fellowship board voted against embracing social networking. Don Higgins was brought into discussions shortly thereafter, and the provisional Rotarians on Social Networks Fellowship was launched on 26th March 2009.

Our initial application for approval (with 232 charter members from 41 countries and 7 board members) was rejected at the October 2009 board meeting after a “no” recommendation from the Fellowships Committee, on the grounds that “the purpose of [the] group overlapped too closely with the purpose of two existing Rotary Fellowships: Rotarians on the Internet¬† and the International Computer Users Fellowship of Rotarians.”

Convinced that our fellowship was different enough (since there are so many different sporting and vehicle-related fellowships!), and bolstered by our steadily growing membership, we decided to continue as a provisional fellowship and apply for approval at the next available opportunity.

A fortuitous discussion between PDG Guz Goh and then RID John Lawrence helped get our application back on the RI Board agenda sooner than anticipated. With RID John now championing our cause, our new application (with 488 charter members from 63 countries and 9 board members; Prakash Saraswat joined the board shortly afterwards) was put on the agenda for the June 2010 Board meeting, this time for a full discussion and vote.

John Lawrence notified Simone Carot Collins on 16th June 2010 that the fellowship had been approved. Official notice from RI arrived on 9th July 2010, and ROSNF was listed in the RI Fellowships Directory on 10th July 2010. News that ROSNF was recognized by the RI Board of Directors was posted in the Board Highlights section of the RI website on 24th July 2010.

ROSNF Chairs

  1. Simone Carot Collins, 2010-2011
  2. Don Higgins, 2011-12
  3. Philip Merritt, 2012-2013
  4. Kero O’Shea, 2013-2014
  5. PDG Melissa Ward, 2014-2015
  6. PDG Guz Goh, 2015-2016
  7. PDG Melissa Ward, 2016-2017

Articles about the Rotarians on Social Networks Fellowship

  • “Over 55s take to Facebook in numbers”, Rotary Down Under, November 2009
  • ROSNF History (as at 13th July 2010) on Rotary Global History Fellowship website
  • “Social networkers launched”, Rotary Down Under, December 2010
  • “Social media tips for clubs and districts”, Rotary International News, 9 May 2011
  • “Project booths inform, promote Rotary service”, Rotary International News, 25 May 2011
  • “Social networkers celebrate”. Rotary Down Under, June 2011
  • “Add a page on Facebook for your Rotary club”, Rotary International News, 7 October 2011