Contributing authors include Emily Corrao, Zymirra Herrin, and Elizabeth Vandergeest.
Smartphones have become a part of everyone’s everyday lives, however, the way smartphones are used varies between people. Many Greek organizations use their smartphones within their chapters, but the way smartphones are used varies between sororities and fraternities.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that members of sororities use their smartphones more often than members of fraternities. Sorority members admitted to using their smartphones for up to 10 hours a day, while some fraternity members said they only use their smartphones for 45 minutes to an hour a day. Some said they use it anywhere between two and three hours a day for organization related purposes. Members of fraternities also said their time spent using their smartphones for their organization varies from week to week. However, members of sororities said their usage seemed to remain consistent from week to week.
Both sororities and fraternities use various types of social media accounts. The most popular accounts are Facebook and Groupme. Both fraternities and sororities said they use these accounts daily. Fraternities seemed to use other sites like Twitter and Instagram significantly less than sororities. Along with Twitter and Instagram, members of sororities also use Tumblr as a way to advertise and broadcast their chapter.
When it comes to staying connected, Facebook and Groupme were agreed on being the easiest. Members of sororities also use email as a way to keep up with weekly events and reminders. Facebook groups and Groupme group chats are the most used and easiest to access. Making a post on a Facebook wall is an easy way for the organizations to keep in contact and make sure that all members see the post.
Senior Meghan Cawley of Chi Sigma Rho said, “The majority of the time I use my phone to keep me updated with sorority events using social media and I also use it to keep in contact with my sisters and pledge class through Groupme.”
The organizations don’t only use their phones as a way to stay connected; they use applications as a way of entertainment to have fun. Both fraternity and sorority members use Pandora and YouTube apps to stream music. Members of fraternities also use game apps, while members of sororities use various picture and meme apps.
When asked about the easiest way to communicate, members of the organizations had answers that varied. Facebook, Groupme, and texting seemed to be popular between both fraternity members and sorority members. However, members of fraternities said that discussing things face-to-face at chapter meetings is the easiest way to relay information to all members of the organization. On the other hand, members of sororities said that calling and email were the easiest ways to get their information for the week.
Current executive board member, Caroline Spignesi of Alpha Sigma Alpha said, “It really helps to have an email sent out with everything discussed during our weekly chapter meetings. While at meetings it is very difficult to hear everything that everyone is saying and even more difficult to remember it all. Having a constant email chain to be able to refer to throughout the week makes being aware of upcoming events so much easier.”
Overall, using smartphones within Greek organizations has both pros and cons. Smartphones make it very convenient for members to stay connected and to be reminded of upcoming events in their chapters. However, members seem to spend a large portion of time on their smartphones. They also use a number of different applications to stay connected and large Groupme chats sometimes tend to be more of an annoyance rather than beneficial to chapter members.
Senior Andrew Guenther, of Delta Kappa Epsilon said, “Most of the time I have my Groupme notifications turned off. Having all 22 active members in one group chat can sometimes be really annoying, especially when my phone is constantly going off. Also the ability to immediately respond doesn’t give brothers enough time to think things through before answering.”
In conclusion, we found that fraternities and sororities use their smartphones in many different ways. Smartphones are used among Greek organizations for public relations, broadcasting, gaming, and editing pictures; however the most important function of smartphones is its ability to keep everyone connected.
This article is one of several in a series on smartphone usage at Bloomsburg University. This series was conducted as a BUnow editorial partnership with Dr. Ganahl’s MassComm research students. Smartphones are steadily becoming a large part of student life, both on- and off-campus. We aim to study this integration, as well as uncover trends in the ways Bloomsburg University students use their smartphones. We hope the information we discover will be of use to the Bloomsburg population, and that this information will help us all gain insight into how we use our smartphones.