Joe Flanagin, president of the AOH Padraig Pearse Division #1 Kansas City, Missouri, holds the Crystal Cup that will be awarded to the winner of the Bishop O’Hara and St. Pius X high school football game. With President Flanagin are AOH members Terry Lynch, left, and Kasey O’Connor who planned and organized the event. The captains for the two teams posed prior to the start of this year’s game. For 15 years, the Cup has been awarded and displayed for a year by the winner of the annual contest. At one time, the rivalry was dominated by St. Pius but the teams had split the last four years, including two tense one-point games in 2012 and 2013. This year’s game was a rare blow out with the undefeated O’Hara team winning 34 to 7. The post-game Cup presentation to the winning squad was broadcast on local television sports and included the presenting of a $100 check for the booster club of the O’Hara team. Pearse members tailgated prior to attending the game with members sharing, no doubt, exaggerated tales of their own past football accomplishments.
Brothers, first of all, I must apologize with being lapse the last few months with the Digital Digest, my business has taken me away from some of my duties, but hopefully everything is returning to normalcy.
That said, I wanted to discuss with you something I wanted to mention last issue, but didn’t have the time to write. Back in January, Brother Tom Lilly received his National Life Membership at the Nassau County, NY, Division 8 Installation Dinner. During his speech, he mentioned about being an “Ordinary Hibernian” and humbly felt he didn’t deserve the honor.
With all due respect for Tom – and I will not go over his credentials here – we don’t have the space – Brother Tom Lilly may have been an “Ordinary Hibernian” but frankly he did extraordinary actions. He used his skills as a lawyer and political connections to gather freedoms for prisoners in Ireland during the late 1970s and also honed those skills for the Pro-Life movement.
Much like Brother Lilly, we are all “Ordinary Hibernians” and we are all capable of doing extraordinary actions, simply by using our everyday skills to benefit the Order. Our editor, John O’Connell, does a tremendous job with the Digest because of his newspaper experience. Immigration chair Dan Dennehy has numerous connections with the Irish government and uses that for his job in the Order. I am very good with the web and I can create beautiful looking sites (at least I’m told), which helps all levels of the AOH.
I can go on and on with examples, but my point is this: You, too, can do what many perceive as extraordinary actions, but to you they are just your everyday tasks. Everyone has a job, be it lawyer, financial consultant, web designer, newspaperman, carpenter, stone mason, or even law enforcement. Any of the skills from these jobs can benefit the AOH.
So as we go into Convention in July, I want you to ask yourself what can you do for this Order. If you are giving all you can, then great. But if you have a certain skill that may benefit the AOH, many will perceive it as extraordinary.
And together these extraordinary actions will make the AOH the Order it should be.
Hope to see all at Turning Stone.
Hope everyone had a good festival season. Ours in Nassau County, NY, was a complete success and I hope yours was, too.
We are approaching the end of the year when elections come up for many divisions. With new officers come new appointments and one of them of course would be the Webmaster — or Internet Communications — post.
In 2012, the Internet Communications Chairman is more important than ever. The lifeblood of the Order is not just new members, but younger members, ones who will grab the reigns and carry the mantle of the AOH for the next 20 years.
And since younger members all use computers in one form or another, having a web-savvy person running your division site is important. These days most people go to the web to find out information about a particular organization. If someone hears about the AOH the first time, they will probably Google the Order to find out more.
This is where having a solid website comes in. It is your calling card and needs to be designed well and maintained. The right webmaster needs to be a special person, one who knows how to design and run the website, while maintaining the cutting edge of new technologies.
So if you an incoming president, my recommendation is to census your members to find that right person. If you have one, then great, run with the ball.
But don’t go cheap on the site. Spend the money to get the right hosting, right software, and right design. This is going to be your calling card, and if your site looks like it’s designed by an amateur, the reaction to the site won’t be what you want it to be.
Also, make sure the person has the time to work with the site. If they take the job and do nothing, it’s not helping the division.
Everyone in the Order wants each division to succeed. Finding the right Internet Communications person is a step in the right direction.
Well that was a nice summer, wasn’t it? And now that everyone is back from their vacations and all the divisions are meeting again, it’s time to write up some helpful tips for you.
Over the summer, I was named the New York State Webmaster – a site you can find at www.nyaoh.com. I totally redesigned the interface. While coding the site, I had to make sure any changes to the template would work on all the various browsers available.
This is not as easy as it sounds and sometimes nothing can be done. As a designer, I do like the curved corner look on the sites, which are not available on older browsers, so the look will be different, depending on how old a version of your browser you are using.
More importantly, though, it’s extremely important to keep updated with the latest software. Once a browser is out of date, security issues pop up and your computer could be vulnerable to attacks from the outside. A simple free download could become hundreds of dollars of repairs if you don’t keep updated.
Yet, even if you do have the latest software, there are a number of options available to you, for your browsing pleasure.
Much like the way it was in the late 1990s, there’s a browser war going on. Unlike back then, where there was the Coke vs. Pepsi option of Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, there’s a number of options for you to surf the Internet.
Internet Explorer 9 – The dominant browser in the early 2000s, where almost 90 percent of computers browsed with Microsoft’s entry. Today it is less than 40 percent and dropping. Part of the reason why IE is under assault is because it was late to the party with a number of functions, such as tabbed browsing, current versions of web layouts, and built in search engines. Yet Microsoft has caught up with IE and since it comes with your computer, many will still use the browser. But many have also flocked away and are staying away.
Mozilla Firefox 6 – The old Netscape closed down back in 2003 and the non-profit Mozilla Foundation received the technology. Firefox – my browser of choice – is now in version 6, but going to version 7 probably by the time you read this, has taken about 25 percent of the market. The best thing it has going is the outside “add-ons” for the browser, which will give the user some extra functionality. So for a designer like myself, it makes it easier to see a site while it is being developed, and for you, plug-ins for Facebook and Twitter will help you browse the Internet much faster.
Apple Safari 5 – With the same layout system as Chrome, Safari will give you a nice layout, and will run fast. Although a Windows version is available, most users of Safari are on Macs, iPhones and iPads.
Opera 11.5 – One of the older browsers out there and a premium buy up until a few years ago. Opera is very innovative and many of the features on all browsers today originally came from Opera. Put out by a Norwegian company, it only has about 2 percent of the market, but does have a popular mini version for cell phones.
Those are your choices and generally you go with what suits your personality. You can’t go wrong with any of the browsers as long as you use the latest version.
Comings and Goings – I would be remiss if I didn’t say a few words about Keith Carney. Over the last year, Keith has become a very good friend of mine. I challenge you to find a harder working guy in Washington, D.C. as he covers Congress on a daily basis. He worked hard with the Digest and made it into a very good paper, by utilizing the membership for its content.
But the Editor of the Digest is a tasking job that took many hours out of his work schedule. He moves on from this position, but fortunately stays on as National Director. Over the next year, I am sure he will do a bang up job as he completes his term.
Fortunately, though, Keith’s loss won’t be felt as deep at the Digest. President Boyle and Vice President Moore hit it out of the park with they named John O’Connell as the new Editor. For full disclosure, I am the current president of John’s Division 8 in Glen Cove, New York, and have worked with him over the past number of years. Besides being a good Hibernian, John is also an excellent editor with the Herald Community Newspapers on Long Island.
Over my career in the media, I have worked with various editors and from my experience as a writer, John is someone you want editing your work. Careful not to take out your voice, he makes sure everything written is clean and improved. He will be a tremendous asset for the Digest.
Sometimes numbers do tell the story and in the case of the Digital Digest, the tale being spun is pretty compelling.
The best way to see how a website is doing is by checking its stats. Sure, it’s all fine and dandy to have a great looking site, but to paraphrase an old expression, “If you have a website and no one comes to it, does it make a sound?”
Well the numbers say the Digest site definitely does make noise. Using Google’s Analytics program, Keith Carney and I keep a keen eye out on how the site it doing and we can see where the traffic numbers are from, while also taking into account what content is being viewed.
So let’s open the books and take a tour of the numbers over the last 13 months. Overall the Digital Digest had 14,191 visits over that period. From the United States, 12,780 viewers came with 434 showing up from Ireland, 379 coming from the United Kingdom (ie. Northern Ireland) and 119 from Canada. Most visitors stay an average of 3:42 minutes on the site and a little over 93 percent view more than one page.
Overall that may not seem like many, but it’s incredible when you consider that the Digital Digest is a startup and the numbers are still growing as more people learn of our existence. To help expand our numbers, we encourage you and your Division webmasters to link to our website www.hiberniandigest.com. Over the past year, The AOH.com national site was our biggest referrer sending us 2,150 visitors and facebook gave us 861 while Google was the biggest organic source with 5,991 or 42.22 percent of our total number.
You can help with the Digital Digest’s growth if you link it on your local division’s site. The Hibernian Digest’s site is a great source of material for Brothers and guests. It also could be used as a recruiting tool for you as many potential brothers can see what the Order has to offer when you are looking for new members.
Over the past year, it has been a pleasure getting the Digital Digest up and running, but that was just the beginning. We hope in the next 12 months, the site will grow with more and more Brothers using it as the No. 1 source for AOH information as we keep the transformation going into the 21st century. The Digital Digest is provided at NO COST to the AOH – so please use it!!
Happy Birthday to the AOH! You only turn 175 once and I hope all of you enjoyed celebrating the Order’s anniversary. Yet, much like everything in this world, things in our Order have gotten more complex over the years as well. This is true in our Division thru State management positions and especially true of the position of Webmaster. When the job was created, a Webmaster was just that, the guy who setup and ran the website for the Division or other jurisdiction. And if you were lucky enough to have a technically savvy brother, the site looked good, but if you didn’t it looked old or used.
Yet with the advent of social media, the role has been expanded. A better definition of the position should be Director of Social Media, where the Webmaster should be in charge of not only the local site, but a Facebook page, Twitter, and other social pages.
With millions of people on Facebook and Twitter, it’s very important to use these outlets to get the word out on the Order. They should be used for publicity for your division and also to invite people to your events. The more you have coming the more money a Division can raise.
With the graying of the Order, it’s imperative to recruit the younger crowd. In a perfect world Divisions should be going after family men in their late 30s or early 40s. These are technically savvy people, who will probably look your Division up on the Internet.
That being said, it is also important to make sure that your site looks good to the public. This may be the first thing a potential member will look at, so make sure it doesn’t look cheap and old. Rather, you need to make sure it looks professional. Pay for a hosting plan and a domain name. That only runs about 100 dollars a year for both. And if you don’t have a designer in your division, find one and pay for that. Remember you only have one chance to make a first impression.
The AOH is slowly moving into the 21st century. This column proves that the National Board is committed to the new media, which means every Division should follow suit. So if you do not have a website set up, find someone who will work on it in and if you do make sure it’s well updated and use the social media to your advantage.
It will give you the jump on the next 175 years.
A belated happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone. As many of you made the sojourns up and down the parade routes around the county, I hope everyone was safe and healthy after their marches.
That staff at the Hibernian Digest has been using the Digital Digest to communicate events to the public more and more over the last few months. We have installed an events calendar (http://events.hiberniandigest.com) where you will find various events around the country of interest to members of the Order. If you are travelling and may want to attend an event, you can check the calendar.
Right now, only the editors have access to the calendar, but in the ensuing months, we will be allowing access for more to add to the calendar. After all, it’s your Digest, and thus your calendar. To submit something to the calendar, please email the event, time, date, location, details and organization sponsoring the event AND event contact information to email@example.com and we will put it up for you.
Video Killed The Radio Star – Thanks to Patrick Allen of Division 9 in New York County, we have put a few videos up of the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral Basilica dedication, including the dedication mass.
The Digital Digest will be adding other videos over the next few months of Hibernian events and will be using the medium on the website to communicate to the members. Right now, we are using a .wmv format, so that means you will need a Windows Media Player installed on your computer to watch these in your browser.
And finally to each and every one of you, have a very happy and blessed Easter!
Over the next few months, we will slowly be rolling out new sections on the Digital Digest site to add new content you won’t find in this paper. In all we are looking at four new sections: Order Interest, Irish News, Catholic Issues, and Photo Galleries. Although they may seem self explanatory, the sections will contain many different things for your reading pleasure.
Order Interest will contain not only Hibernian News, but also the columns we are planning on rolling out, including Book Reviews, an Entertainment Column and the Sports Report. Of course, the Digest will also include news that may not be timely to include in the actual newspaper, such as reports on Major Degrees around the country and various Irish festivals.
To help further this, the Digest will also be adding an event calendar on the site where you will be able to add new events locally from around the country. We hope to have that up for parade season so we can have an inclusive list of all the AOH sponsored St. Patrick’s Day Parades from around the country.
The next section will be Irish News, which in the beginning will be supplied by the National Chairs of the Order. Here you will find more FFAI and Immigration information, as well as additional and expanded reports from our National Historian Mike McCormack.
The same will hold true for Catholic Issues section, where you will find Pro-Life issues, Catholic Action, and Hibernian Charity news. We hope to have immediate news when the Pro-Life rally comes up in Washington next year.
And finally the Photo Galleries will contain galleries of national events. As of right now the Facebook page has four galleries of the Cincinnati Convention, which will be placed on the Digest in the next few months. And we will also be adding other events.
Of course, this is YOUR Digital Digest and to make this expanded coverage we need help with more reporters to cover the events and columnists to write on a regular basis. The only way to get the news out is to have committed brothers trying to help out the cause. If you are interested, please email the National Editor Keith Carney at firstname.lastname@example.org or to me at email@example.com.
On a more personal note, I would like to offer my congratulations to my brother and friend Jim McCabe, who was granted National Life Membership this past year. We held a dinner back in October at Glen Cove, NY in his honor, where 172 people – including New York State President Chip McLean and Secretary Jim Burke -celebrated his 57 years in the Order. So here’s to Jim and the seven other brothers who received Life Membership this year. Congratulations!
And finally to all of you and your families, Merry Christmas! It has been my pleasure to serve as Online Editor this past year and I hope that 2011 will even be a better one for the Order.