One of the most common college stereotypes people think of are the typical “frat boy” and “sorority girl”. A lot of incoming college students go into college with this dream of joining a Greek organization. I myself am a member of one of the national sororities here at SUNY Oswego; I am member of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority. Both of my parents are members of Greek organizations, and my mom still advises her sororities chapter today, so it is safe to say I knew quite a bit about Greek organizations before coming to college. One aspect that I did not know, or realize at first, was how big a role social media plays in Greek organizations, at least on the sorority side of things.
I have seen first hand the role of social media in sorority life from both sides, potential new member looking to join a sorority, and member looking for new girls to join my sorority. Kali Boyer and Elliott McDonald state in their article “Social Media and Greek Organizations” that “It’s beneficial for the Potential New Members to have a page they can access that promotes the core values of the organizations so they can see what the chapters are truly like, passed the stereotypical biases.” The Alpha Epsilon Phi at SUNY Oswego Instagram is the main way we show Potential New Members who we are and our values as a chapter. The only other time we get to interact with Potential New Members is at the occasional tabling event that we do and then during recruitment, so having a page where we can interact with the Potential New Members is very important. By having a page where all the sororities can post about their philanthropy and fun sisterhood events that we do is extremely beneficial for the Potential New Members to find which sorority will be the best fit for them. New Member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, Nicole Destefano, who just made her choice of sorority this semester, said “Honestly, I did really look at some of them before I decided, and I did it because I wanted to see which group I could picture my self in.” Knowing that Instagram is the main form of communicating with Potential New Members, we want to make sure all the things we post on our Instagram truly reflect who we are and help us to stand out from the other sororities. Showing who we are on Instagram is such an important part of recruiting new members that we even have a position in our sorority that is in charge of running our chapters Instagram, she makes sure we take good pictures at all of our events and asks our sisters to send her pictures of the fun things they do. Alexa Williams, Social Media Chair of Alpha Epsilon Phi, says it can take up to 40 minutes to take a photo, edit the picture to make it just right, find a good caption, and post the picture.
Something that most people don’t know about social media in sororities is that there is a long list of rules that all sorority members must follow while using their personal social media accounts. The first of these, which to most people seems quite obvious, is that you are not allowed to post any photos of yourself consuming alcohol while wearing your letters, even if you are of legal drinking age. This rule is in place because once you are initiated as a member of a sorority, you then are a representative of that group and everything that you do and put out on social media is a reflection of that group. Another rule of social media use in sororities comes into play during the recruitment season. Each semester a week before recruitment begins, there is a period of “strict silence”. During strict silence no active member of a sorority is allowed to follow, or accept a follow request from any Potential New Member, as well as commenting on any of their pictures. This rule is in place because by doing any of these things could give the Potential New Member the idea that they would be getting a bid to join your sorority, or could be the member trying to convince them to chose to join their sorority.
The fact that there are these social media rules in place for sorority members shows how much the college environment has changed because of social media, and how different college life is now because things can be posted and seen by thousands of your peers on social media in a matter of minutes.