The Cemetery Club
Administrator: Minda Douglas-Powers
Grave of Mary C. Forbes, with her footstone in place at the Marshall State Historic Park. Photo by Loren Rhoads.
Q: There are a lot of cemetery aficionado groups on Facebook. What sets yours apart?
A: From my experience, many of the cemetery groups on Facebook are all about the photos. So is The Cemetery Club’s group — it only makes sense — but the most important aspect of our group is the community.
When I started the group years ago, it was to network with fellow taphophiles. I was working on my book Cemetery Walk and wanted a way to connect with a variety of people who all had some sort of interest in cemeteries. Eventually the group, which I consider a partner to my website www.TheCemeteryClub.com, took on a life of its own. We now have more than 1700 members from all around the world who share photos, ask each other questions, give advice, and promote a general sense of camaraderie. It’s a really great community and I certainly can take very little credit for that.
I would like to thank everyone who has been with me since the very beginning: TC, Iris, John, Tracy, Matt, Jason, Amy, Doug, and so many more (you know who you are!). On the days when I get overwhelmed by life, work, my many projects, and wonder if all the effort is worth it… I see a post in the group that reminds how passionate my friends are about gravestones and history. It reminds me that I’m not the only one who loves gravestones and everything they (literally) stand for. It may still seem an odd hobby or passion to some — though not nearly as many think it’s as weird as they used to — but it means a whole lot to us.
Q: Do you have a policy about what is appropriate to post?
A: My policy is pretty basic: Be kind, considerate of others, and don’t be a blatant salesperson. I have no problem with people promoting the work they do, a book they’ve written, etc., but anything spammy won’t last long. Obviously the phony FB profiles who are trying to sell shoes get the boot really fast. Others who over-promote themselves, yet don’t contribute to the group in any other way, don’t last very long either.
Q: How old is your group?
A: I think it dates back to 2005 or 2004. I wasn’t able to find a start date on Facebook.
Q: Is your group open to new members?
A: Yes! The group is always open to new members. We’ve been growing in leaps and bounds. It seemed like it took forever for us to hit 1,000. That was okay, since we had quality posts. In the last nine months or so, it’s really taken off. As far as criteria, you just have to be a real person and not just a fake spam profile. All are welcome. The more people we can get interested in our cemeteries and history, the better.
Q: Are you a member of any other cemetery groups?
A: I am a member of a number of cemetery groups. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to contribute to any of them. It’s tough enough to keep up with my own! Besides, you’ll find the same taphophiles are members of a bunch of these groups. I do my best to keep my social media life simplified. I do social media during my day job, too, so while I may not always be out there on my own channels, I’m usually networking in some way with someone.