Upon waking up on a typical morning, before my feet have touched the ground, I have browsed my Instagram feed, scrolled along my Facebook timeline, and sifted through what seems like unending group messages on GroupMe. Social media has infiltrated my life, and probably yours too. In the past year, social media has effectively made its way into my sorority as well, and in the most unexpectedly positive ways.
If you read my last blog post, you’re well aware of the raw excitement that overwhelmed my chapter when we found out we were getting a new house on the eve of recruitment. With the help of our social media chair, Wesley Tomlinson, and our advisors, we were able to channel our new anticipation into an effective recruitment tool. After being given t-shirts with our house design and having an impromptu photo shoot, we ran outside to witness the unveiling of a huge banner plastered across our on-campus house. All of us waited until the go-ahead to post an image created by Wesley across our social media channels at exactly the same time announcing the news to the furthest reaches of the internet. The next day, the last school day before recruitment, every freshmen/PNM had digested a cohesive message presented to them via our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Walking through campus in my t-shirt, hot off the presses, I was congratulated by people I didn't even know on our new house.
The choices to wait to release the news until right before recruitment and to standardize our social media posts were strategic. Working together as a chapter we showcased our solidarity and excitement to our entire community. This approach has been implemented in other areas of our chapter’s activities as well. Leading up to our 2014 Red Dress Gala, Wesley posted a daily countdown featuring photos from last year’s event to our Facebook page. Our sisters eagerly shared and liked these images, spreading the buzz about our philanthropy. By always putting our best foot forward on social media, we are able to circulate positive images of our sisterhood to parents, friends, and our respective communities. With today’s world having an increasing focus on one’s presence on social media, we are always trying to find new ways to enhance how we are perceived, both as a sisterhood and as individuals.
Not only has social media provided an outlet to inform our friends, family, and classmates about our chapter’s events, it has also strengthened our sisterhood in more ways than one. Our chapter utilizes a Tumblr account to post photos of our sisters both home and abroad. We have a private Facebook page chock full of updates and notifications from sisters, whether they be in the library seeking a walk home with a friend or offering an invitation to go skiing. Each class is connected on a GroupMe, which is a group messaging application. These outlets bind us together even when we are apart, creating an excuse to take one too many photos at every event, a format to ask for a ride when you need one, and a forum to post hilarious videos or inspiring articles during the often-grueling hours of the finals grind. On a snowy Saturday one of our sisters living in the house sent a GroupMe that she would be staying in and watching The Proposal in the basement, inviting others to join. My personal favorite GroupMe function has been receiving spontaneous alerts when there are warm cookies in the basement.
It seems like I’m always hearing about how social media is destroying real social ties, I would argue that it has enriched and diversified the bonds between sisters in my chapter and allowed for a purposeful presentation of our sisterhood to our communities. We make the most of our online presence, utilizing it to reach out to our family and friends, to post important information in a centralized place, and, obviously, to share photos of our killer red dresses. That’s something I’m happy to wake up to.
Stella Swartz is a collegiate member at Denver (Iota Xi). Learn more about Stella by clicking here.