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Building a virtual Lions Club, why and how

I’ve been a Lions Clubs member since 2010, and in February last year the general secretary of MD104 (Norway) asked me to look into the concept of “Cyber Clubs”.

Our Cyber Club website. Our Cyber Club website.

What I found was that even though Lions International has written much about it, it’s not really a concept, more listings of different tools you can use to build online communities.

So I gave up at first. But after the summer I started thinking about it again, and I decided to try and build a concept myself.

After talking to friends, both IRL and on social media, I found that selling Lions was more or less hopeless. Most people don’t know what we do, and they loose interest when you try to explain.

So I decided that I needed to sell a cause. The cause I selected was bullying, especially cyberbullying. Why? Because bullying is a big problem that Lions Quest can solve, and cyberbullying is the natural evolution of bullying with the introduction of social media.

This was very easy to “sell”, and after recruiting my first five members, the rest was a walk in the park. After three months we had recruited 25 chartermembers and could start the club.

How did I recruit? 

I mostly recruited members online through social media like Facebook and Twitter. I wrote a lot of blog posts about my idea and shared it. 

A few members are my personal friends, some transferred from other clubs, and I recruited three people from a big network-meeting (over 100 attendees) where I held a presentation of the concept, but mostly the members where recruited through the use of social media combined with my blog.

I also spent about €35 on Facebook promotions.

Our goal is to end bullying.

That is of course impossible, but we need hairy goals! How? We have three main activities:

  1. Build a website devoted to bullying and cyberbullying. The website is meant to be a resource for kids, youth, parents, teachers, pretty much everyone. We will tell stories, share what Lions do against bullying, and what other great humanitarian organisations do.
  2. Have a yearly youth-camp called “Camp #DigMob”. This camp will be devoted to discussing bullying, having speakers talking about their experiences. Instructors from Lions Quest will (hopefully) be an important part of the camp.
  3. Try to work together with other humanitarian organisations that also work against cyberbullying, find common ground and how we can help each other towards the goal of ending bullying.

How to the cyberclub work?

  • The website is based on WordPress.
  • We have a digital club house, based on bbPress.
  • Board meetings is done through Google Hangout.
  • Club decisions are made by having a poll in the digital club house.
  • No physical club meetings, but two yearly get together happenings.

How do we get funding?

The club was just chartered a few weeks ago, so we don’t have any experience with this yet, but here are a few ideas we’re working on:

  • – online micro-fundraising.
  • Getting companies as sponsors/advertisers.
  • Getting private supporters called “friends of Lions”.
  • Training sessions in the use of social media to other Lions Clubs.

Whats next?

As I said, we’ve just been chartered, so we need to find out what work-capacity our members have, what the want to contribute with, and what we need of funding.

In January 2015 we are planning to have an evening seminar about cyberbullying to test the interest of our Camp #DigMob idea.

And we already have two new members on their way in to the club :-)

Se our club at

Social media username availability

SMiLE NameChkJust starting on social media or looking to expand the social media network sites you use?
Having the same username on all platforms is important when people try to find you on their social media websites. After you decide which catchy username you want to use, you can check the availability om 157 popular social media websites with NameChk.

Free Getty Stockphotos for your Social Media

During the re-design of the SMiLE website, I search the web for images.  In the process I learned a thing or two. First I learned how to search images on Google licensed for re-use (read blog: Google Images – Find images licensed for re-use). Secondly I stumbled upon a new ‘Getty images‘ feature that enables you to freely use (embed) professional images on your website or social media postings.

Getty images is a professional Stock Photo agency. It is a supplier of stock images for business and consumers with an archive of 80 million still images and illustrations. You can search and browse the Getty images for images, purchase usage rights and download images.

When searching nice images to make your blog post or Facebook post more attractive you will certainly come across very nice usable images, but with a watermark making it unusable unless you pay the license going from very cheap to very expensive.

Now Getty makes it possible to use these images for free by embedding the images on Social Media. Let say I want to write an article on my blog or Facebook about Toronto and need an nice Toronto Skyline image…

Step1: surf to

Step2: Search ‘Toronto Skyline”

Step3: Look for the ‘embed’ symbol

embed                   Search embed symbol

Step4: Copy embed code


<iframe src=”//” width=”507″ height=”407″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”></iframe>

Step 5: Paste into Blog, Facebook, …



Have a look at the SMiLE Facebook page to see the result.

In your blog it will look like this:

Origin of the word ‘Bug’

Origin of the word 'Bug'

A software bug is an error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in a computer program or system that produces an incorrect or unexpected result, or causes it to behave in unintended ways.

The term “bug” was used in an account by computer pioneer Grace Hopper, who publicized the cause of a malfunction in an early electromechanical computer.[6] A typical version of the story is given by this quote:
In 1946, when Hopper was released from active duty, she joined the Harvard Faculty at the Computation Laboratory where she continued her work on the Mark II and Mark III. Operators traced an error in the Mark II to a moth trapped in a relay, coining the term bug. This bug was carefully removed and taped to the log book. Stemming from the first bug, today we call errors or glitch’s [sic] in a program a bug.
Hopper was not actually the one who found the insect, as she readily acknowledged. The date in the log book was September 9, 1947, although sometimes erroneously reported as 1945. The operators who did find it, including William “Bill” Burke, later of the Naval Weapons Laboratory, Dahlgren, Virginia, were familiar with the engineering term and, amused, kept the insect with the notation “First actual case of bug being found.” Hopper loved to recount the story.

This log book is on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, complete with moth attached.


Google Images - Find images licensed for reuse

Lions SMiLE LicensedSMiLE is currently very busy re-designing the SMiLE website. To make things nicer we use a lot of images. Easy you think… Google images… Yes, you will find lots of nice images, but have you ever thought about the source of these pictures. For some people making great images and pictures available is a way of earning an income. We Serve and need to respect the licenses of images available on the internet.

To comply with the license you have two options.

Google Images Usage Filter


  • Go to
  • Type the image you are searching for (e.g.: Lions Clubs)
  • Click ‘Search Tools’
  • Click the usage rights accordingly (e.g.: labeled for reuse)

Notice that when checked ‘Labeled for reuse’ no Lions emblem images show up. This is because to Lions logo is copyrighted and you cannot reuse it without consent. Luckily as a Lion you are permitted to ‘download the official format of the emblems provided on the association’s Web site. These are the only emblems that may reproduced electronically or otherwise, including sites on the World Wide Web and other areas on the Internet.’ More information

SMiLE google Reuasablejpg

Best practice example

For example you want to add a world map to your club website coloring the past conventions countries. Search Google with ‘world map blank’ choose ‘labeled for reuse WITH modification’ (since you will color some countries thus modifying the image) and download the image of your liking.

Smile world map blank

Some more information

The images are typically ones licensed by Creative Commons or GNU Free Documentation, or are items in the public domain. The “labeled for reuse” option allows you to use the image for non-commercial purposes as specified in the license. The “labeled for commercial reuse” lets you use the image commercially. The “reuse with modification” option grants you the ability to alter the image.

Many free high resolution reusable images are on Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. As an example search for reusable images of your home town (e.g. my home town ‘Brugge’). Many pictures on photo sharing sites like Flickr have also free reusable licenses (read licenses). For clipart use services like

A Google help page describes the various licensing and usage options.

Google has offered usage rights filtering for images since 2009. But until now, you had to access the Advanced Image Search page to filter your results. The new feature also helps Google catch up with Bing, which has its own image licensing filter directly accessible from your search results.