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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 08:30 AM, by Ashley Settle
Ashley Settle
Eta Theta/
Central Florida
Social media is more and more becoming the lifeblood of communication. With more than 1 billion Facebook users posting hundreds of thousands of posts each and every day, our networks—both personal and professional—are now online and active participants in daily, digital communication streams. Yet when it comes to professional interactions, platforms like LinkedIn rise to the top as social media sites created for the purpose of job hunting and networking. And while LinkedIn is undoubtedly an efficient and promising platform to build solid professional relationships, other sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and even Vine shouldn't be discounted when it comes to maintaining a respectable online reputation and building professional relationships.

A New York Times article recently found that "31 percent [of college admissions officers] said they had visited an applicant's Facebook or other personal social media page to learn more about them." Our social media presences are becoming part of our perception—and one that can't be ignored as online ecosystems grow. Employers and universities alike want to create communities that reflect their mission and standards, which is why it's important that prospective employees and students mirror that image. A CareerBuilder survey found that "hiring managers are using social media to get a glimpse at the candidate's behavior and personality outside of the interview, and are most interested in professional presentation and how the candidate would fit with the company culture." In fact, the survey found that 50% of employees have taken a candidate out of the running due to "provocative/inappropriate photos/info" on social media sites. And within the past year or so, we've all heard stories of employees being shown the door-promptly-after posting negative content online while at work or on behalf of the company.

So how can you navigate the ever-evolving social media sphere to stand out in a professional, yet well-rounded way? Take a look at Ragan.com's infographic for helpful tips on personal branding. Here are a few keys takeaways.

Create and maintain an online personal brand. When employers search for your name online, having consistent and well-managed social sites is incredibly important. Be sure that your Twitter handle and bio are reflective of your personality, but also professional enough that an employer wouldn't mind mentioning on their website or blog. Use your real name and a suitable photo or headshot.

Be aware of the content you publish. Ensure all public-facing content is something that you would be fine with having your parents, boss and/or professors see. Not only does this go for photos, but also negative comments or profanity in your captions, comments and feeds.

Engage with professionals online. Thousands of employers and professionals are online each and every day. Twitter, like LinkedIn, can be an especially useful platform to job search and engage with hiring managers and recruiters. Don't be afraid to reach out to industry experts and connect with them.

Share good content. Contribute to the conversations already happening! Reply to articles online that you find interesting, share blog posts or articles that you've recently read, and keep the momentum going.

Being professional and respectable online doesn't mean be boring! It simply means being cognizant of the information you're posting online. Employers and universities want to bring on board smart, positive and personable employees, and the best place to get a good sense of your personality is often online.

Ashley Settle, Eta Theta/Central Florida, is a senior account executive for Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, in Washington, D.C. and serves on the Fraternity’s marketing & communications committee.

Posted On: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 08:00 AM, by Michelle Mouton Geiger
Michelle Mouton Geiger
Delta Kappa/LSU
Social media is a great tool to define your personal brand, as well as your chapter's brand. It can influence the way others perceive you, and it offers a plethora of ways to share the things that are important to you. Thetas are doing all sorts of creative, clever, and impressive things on social media, and here are eight that every chapter should consider.

1. Post updates regularly and in real-time. Social media is fast, current, and easy to share. Use it to your advantage to talk about the exciting things in your chapter. Designate a signature #hashtag for your philanthropy events, Founders Day celebrations, alumnae brunches, Day of Service or other chapter activities, and encourage members to live tweet and share photos as the event unfolds.

2. Repurpose ideas that work. Follow organizations you like, and pay attention to the kinds of things they do on social media that get your attention. Be sure to include Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity's Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn pages in your list! Try applying creative social media efforts you see into your chapter's marketing efforts.

3. Promote service and philanthropy. Follow the service organizations on your campus, Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation, National CASA, and your local CASA affiliate, and share their updates when they are relevant to your chapter efforts. Do the same for the other chapters on your campus and help to promote their events as well. Social media is a conversation—be sure to tag or use #hashtags when participating in events that support any of these groups.

4. Take advantage of social media trends. Throw Back Thursday (#tbt), which encourages people to share history through pictures, is a prime example of a social media trend to participate in. Dig into those old chapter scrapbooks and scan or photograph the best photos or items to share. Or, ask your alumnae to submit their favorite photos and share one each week.

5. Represent your chapter well. Though it should go without saying, make sure your chapter's social media sites represent the best of your chapter. Avoid photos that aren't in line with our values and the standards of Kappa Alpha Theta. Have fun with it, but focus on pictures that show members' faces and demonstrate their ability to be leading women. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, and we don't want any of those words to be "Eww."

6. Remember to follow all Panhellenic guidelines. Double-check that the social media efforts you plan follow your Panhellenic rules, especially recruitment guidelines that could affect the way you market the chapter leading up to recruitment.

7. Cross-promote your chapter's pages. Link up your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts so you can share good content on multiple platforms. In addition, be sure your chapter website has working links to all of your social media sites. In your chapter newsletters—whether it's electronic or printed—always include links to your social media sites. It's a great way to get the most "bang for your buck" and to gain more followers on your social media sites.

8. Share your social sites with Fraternity headquarters. Sharing your sites with headquarters will help staff promote your chapter as well. Email info@kappaalphatheta.org to update the information on file for your chapter. We love to see what your chapter is doing!

How is your chapter using social media to promote your chapter and interact with other organizations?

Michelle Mouton Geiger, Delta Kappa/LSU, is the marketing & communications chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, and is a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 10:00 AM, by Lindsay Sell
There appears to be a never-ending string of stories in the media detailing the inappropriate party themes used by fraternities and sororities at campuses across the country. These inappropriate themes often ask members to dress and act in ways stereotypically connected to particular identities. Take, for example, the Duke fraternity that hosted an "Asia Prime" party known as the "racist rager," or another Duke fraternity who, a few years prior, hosted a "Pilgrims and Indians" party. Or consider the Penn State sorority that hosted a Mexican-themed party. In each of these examples, members and their guests dressed in stereotypical attire and posed in offensive pictures that were subsequently shared with the media. In each of these instances, public outrage followed.

The reality is that fraternities and sororities often host themed social events. Themes for these events add a novel element and can be a fun way to connect with one another and our guests. When those themes marginalize entire groups of people, even people whose identities might be represented in the chapter hosting the event, we run afoul of our organizational values and create a negative and unsafe environment for entire groups of people.

The public apologies offered by chapters hosting these inappropriate parties often indicate that the organization's intention wasn't to offend, that they were just trying to have fun. These apologies often come after the media has secured photos from these events or seen public invitations via forums like Facebook, leading one to wonder how many events with inappropriate themes are hosted that don't receive attention and are left unaddressed. The processing of these events presents an opportunity to understand the difference between intent and impact.

The impact of our actions can be and often are very different from our intentions, and both are important to consider in our decision-making. Understanding the impact our behaviors have on others, despite our good intentions, helps us be more empathetic and adjust our behaviors to be more inclusive and thoughtful. When determining a party theme, it might be wise to consider what the impact of that theme might be on members of our organizations, our campus communities, and the larger community we're all part of, instead of acknowledging only our own good intentions and offering that as rationale to proceed.

As members of Kappa Alpha Theta, we agree to live by a common set of values. Those values call for us to exercise our widest influence for good. When we think about our intentions and our impact, we are better able to understand the way our individual and organizational decisions impact others and are then able to ensure those decisions do good and not harm. I hope we can all be thoughtful of this when hosting events and as we hold our peers accountable for their events. I hope our decisions to not host social events with inappropriate themes are motivated by our authentic understanding of the impact of that theme and less by our fear of getting caught. And more than anything, I hope that we can ensure all our actions as members of this organization, including those related to our social events, are reflective of our values and commitment to the widest influence for good because they consider both our intentions and our impact.

Lindsay Sell, Beta Gamma/Colorado State, is the extension committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, and is a charter Life Loyal member.