Transcript: How Greek Life Transforms on Social Media
Payton Saso: I'm Payton Saso and I'm here with Gabbie Dionisio from Chi Omega at ASU. And we're going to be talking about how social media affects sororities and how people view sororities here at ASU and across the country. Gabby, before you were in a sorority, how did you view them?
Gabbie Dionisio: I'm originally from the Bay Area of California and I don't think I ever spoke to anyone in high school or even middle school about Greek life. I barely knew a thing about it. I wouldn't say that I viewed it more than outside of movies, which everyone sort of has that negative mentality about Greek life. As soon as I came here I met my roommate. She's from Arizona. She had more information on it and educated me to a point where it was almost making my perspective change in probably not in a good way. I should've went into it more open minded. I'm glad I went through recruitment and my perspective on Greek life since then, even a year ago, has changed a lot.
Payton Saso: Before you went through recruitment, did you ever look at a sorority's social media? And did you judge them off of their social media at all before you went into the houses?
Gabbie Dionisio: I hate to say it, but I definitely did. Actually, this brings back to one night with my roommate. Her and I, we were sitting on my bed and we watched all of the sororities' sisterhood videos that they published on YouTube and then we'd spend hours stalking their Instagram and other girls in the chapter. Now that I think about it that influenced the way that I look at the houses and how I judge them because, social media — you put the best parts out of yourself and that probably wasn't a good thing. They always recommend freshmen or anyone going through recruitment not to do that, but we do. It sucks, but I learned from it and I'm definitely happy in the house that I ended up in.
Payton Saso: It's good now too because sororities at ASU were not allowed to do recruitment videos anymore, so it definitely kind of takes away that extra layer.
Gabbie Dionisio: They're trying to make it more values based now. I think that did help, but there is always room for improvement.
Payton Saso: Across the board, even at schools in California or in the south where Greek life is obviously very large, do you think that social media presents a true version of what being in a sorority is like or is it just the clean, perfect, bubbly persona that it portrays?
Gabbie Dionisio: Going back based on everyone's personal social media, you only put out the parts that you want people to see. I think that could be a good thing and it could be a bad thing. Going back to a sorority, we're only posting our big events and things that we're doing. We're not posting us getting food with the sisters — those the other small things because you always put the more interesting parts out. I think that depending on the sorority and where it is. ASU in particular, I have no idea why, we do so much with Instagram which is weird, but I've definitely learned from it and that's actually show me what I want to do with my career. I want to be involved in social media. For Chi Omega specifically, we do try to put our values more on our social media and try to stay true to who we are and being genuine. Other houses may not value that and I'm not going to name any specific ones. You could definitely tell as a PNM (potential new member) and even as someone who is in a sorority now, the difference between a sorority who puts the best parts and wants to make them look great versus a sorority who is just posting the main special events and staying true to who they are.
Payton Saso: Why do you think that people believe that a follower count directly correlates with how popular a sorority is at a school? And why does that make them a top house if they have a lot of Instagram followers?
Gabbie Dionisio: It's so weird because everyone is so obsessed with numbers and the more you have the more popular you are. It sucks because sororities definitely by Instagram followers, it's not really a secret so that doesn't even necessarily reflect who they are at all.
I'm not quite sure why people care about it so much. It's just 100 percent an image thing, but I definitely think it's something that people and ASU people should work on in the future. I couldn't even say exactly why. I really don't know why it's such a big thing. But as someone who is a PNM, a potential new member, someone going through recruitment. Someone who is going through and is looking at a house that has cute pictures but maybe only has 3,000 followers versus a house that has "amazing pictures" and has maybe twenty thousand followers. Who are you going to think is "better" according to Instagram — the one that has twenty thousand followers. It's all based on opinion, but numbers are great.
Payton Saso: How is your role as social media manager for Chi Omega affected how you view the way social media can harm or help a sorority? Do you focus on, "Okay, we can't post this on anything because that could potentially harm us?"
Gabbie Dionisio: For me personally, being the director of marketing, I am in charge of it and it's pretty scary because you're supposed to be representing your whole chapter in a really appropriate way. No posting alcohol any inappropriate things. Nothing that's some girl in Mexico for spring break — avoiding those sort of things. Me personally, I've learned to just go through my assistants and ask them for opinions. "Is this appropriate, is what we value?" In that sense, getting those opinions and posting things that I think that positively affect us as a chapter and what we want people to see does help us because we get the attention and people going through recruitment they're like "Okay, this is exactly how it was when I was talking to them and this is a house that I'm interested in." However it could negative negatively affect a house if it looks really artificial and not genuine.
Personally for me, that was one of my biggest goals as director is to stay true to who we are and be very genuine. It's a really big balancing game because you want the photos to look cute and you want the filters to be perfect and and all that. At the end of the day you got to stay true to who you are. Hopefully I can continue to do that for the rest of the year.