• Pledging Fraternity
    Pledging Fraternity Thoughts from Chris Carter, Director of Communications of Sigma Pi Fraternity, International

This article originally ran on CNN Money at this link: http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/21/technology/google-mobilegeddon/index.html

Mobilegeddon is upon us.

Google released sweeping changes to its search algorithm on Tuesday, giving mobile-friendly websites a boost on smartphones. In its mobile search results, Google (GOOGL, Tech30) now favors websites that adjust for smaller screens.

It seems like an obvious tweak, but it has website operators scrambling to keep their sites listed high up in the search rankings. As with all Google algorithm tweaks, some will benefit, and others will lose out.

Here's everything you need to know about Google's changes, which some have labeled "Mobilegeddon."

1. Only smartphones impacted. Google's search results on desktop and tablets will be unaffected by the new algorithm. But it's still a big impact. Mobile makes up about half of all Google searches.

2. Website operators had two months to prepare. Usually, Google doesn't pre-announce algorithm tweaks. But Mobilegeddon could have such a dramatic impact on mobile search results that Google opted to give businesses time to get ready.

In February, the search company released a "mobile-friendly" test, which allows websites to see whether their sites are ready for the algorithm tweak. Mobile websites with unplayable videos, slow mobile pages and blocked image files will get knocked down a peg.

3. Algorithm changes can be nasty. Many businesses rely heavily on Google to send traffic to their websites. Google controls two-thirds of the U.S. search market, and when Google changes its code, companies have to scramble to relearn how to optimize their sites for Google's search.

The stakes are high. The top spot on a search page typically attracts 20% to 30% of the page's clicks, according to Adam Bunn, SEO director of digital marketing agency Greenlight. After that comes an enormous tail-off: Positions two to three generate 5% to 10% of the clicks, and links below that receive less than 1% of users' attention.

In 2011, a major Google algorithm change designed to promote high-quality content sent some companies into financial ruin. Two weeks after the changes, Mahalo.com laid off 10% of its workforce thanks to what CEO Jason Calacanis called "a significant dip in our traffic and revenue."

4. Websites can adjust on the fly. Unlike previous algorithm tweaks, websites can upgrade their "mobile-friendliness" at any time to appear higher in Google's search results -- it doesn't have to be done on Tuesday.
Google also said that the algorithm tweaks will be rolled out over the course of a few weeks, so the changes might not immediately be noticeable anyway.

5. Some mobile-unfriendly sites could still get favorable search placement. Google's algorithm judges sites based on numerous criteria, of which mobile-friendlness is just one. The company's aim is to provide the most relevant results, even if it's to a site that isn't optimized for mobile.


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The Executive Office staff of Sigma Pi Fraternity, International took some time on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity at their ReStore location in Lebanon, Tenn.

According to their website, Habitat for Humanity ReStores “are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  Habitat for Humanity ReStores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world.”

"Community service is a big part of being a member of Sigma Pi," said Executive Director Michael Ayalon (Epsilon-Omicron, Buffalo ’97). "Through our volunteer involvement in Habitat for Humanity, we have a greater appreciation of the blessings we have in life, a stronger connection to the Lebanon community, and a stronger desire to help others. We look forward to even more opportunities to serve."

In all, 17 members of the Executive Office staff volunteered three hours each, totaling 51 total hours of service.

Kim Schick, Wilson ReStore Manager, had this to say about the efforts of the Executive Office Staff: “To all the wonderful volunteers at Sigma Pi that helped us move over 500 extremely heavy doors; your group did more in one day then what we could have done in 3 months!  We have been selling these doors like crazy, now that the public has access to them.  It was as if we won the lottery the day Mr. Ayalon called and said there was a group of fraternity members and staff that wanted to volunteer here.  All of us here were thanking God that day.  Honestly, we had no idea what we would have done without all of your efforts.  Thank you, thank you, thank you; we are so fortunate to have you in our community.”

For more information about Habitat for Humanity ReStore, visit their website at www.habitat.org/restores.

Imagine if Sigma Pi was known as THE fraternity to join if you want the best job in your field after college. What would happen if you showed up to classes in Sigma Pi letters and the professors automatically knew they could count on you to be one of the most engaging and intelligent students in class?  What if the Sigma Pi house was the safest place on campus for women to hang out because you were known for chivalry all around the world? What if your fraternity could teach you how to buy a house on your own by the time you are 25 or how to have enough money saved to be able to retire early?

Last semester, the Fraternity engaged Phired Up Productions to conduct research on the membership experience of members, former members, and new members of Sigma Pi Fraternity. The goal with this research is to inform current Fraternity practices and turn those into better practices and to create a template for a membership development initiative to pilot later this year.

In total, over 1000 alumni men ranging in age from 22 to well into their 80s responded to our survey.  Over 600 undergraduate new members and existing members responded from all types of chapters from all over the country. Our response rate was amazing and we want to thank all of you that participated.

We learned a lot about what we do well and what we need to improve. Many undergraduate men (87%) feel highly favorably about their fraternity experience. Brotherhood, connection, and fit are the primary reasons why people join Sigma Pi and why they stay in Sigma Pi.  Men have a strong connection with big and little brothers and pledge classes and find that many of the resources Sigma Pi has in place already work well for them. Men that lead the chapter sought out the experience to lead and enjoy the experience. The connection local chapter members have with alumni and advisors is somewhat strong but with the International Organization- from a staff and volunteer perspective- needs some improvement. We need to do a better job of engaging alumni as many cited that Fraternity beyond college years did not seem relevant to them. Of utmost importance is that many alumni are willing to re-engage with the Fraternity but need to be asked to do so in a specific and direct way that is less time intensive that the current offerings.

Alumni men don't necessarily feel like they need developmental programming, however they are willing to be mentors to undergraduate members. Our undergraduate members spoke loud and clear that career and life mentorship and development (in addition to brotherhood and life long connection) was precisely what they wanted to get out of Fraternity. This is the place where Fraternity education and membership development can be most relevant.

Character development, professional development, life planning, and career engagement are likely to be some of the cornerstone of new developmental programming and we are going to ask our alumni (many of whom we have never asked before) to help us more with undergraduate education.

Our staff is in the process of reviewing all of the feedback you gave us about what we are doing well and what we need to work on. We are listening to what you are telling us. We are reading all of your words. We are also engaging a committee of undergraduate men to work on membership development initiatives this month.

Our Fraternity has the information and power to make history as THE place where the BEST men are even better. We want you to be better for having been a member of our organization.

Can you imagine the impact our organization could have on the world if every single member focused every single day on truth and justice, chivalry, scholarship, character, and diffusing culture? We are in the relationship business, the values business, the life bettering business at Sigma Pi Fraternity - we hope to have this come to light more in our daily practices, interactions with chapters and alumni, and in all of the future work we will do developing our members.

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About Chris Carter

Chris CarterChris Carter serves as Director of Communications of Sigma Pi Fraternity, International. Founded in 1897, Sigma Pi Fraternity is the leading, international men's collegiate fraternal organization which provides training, guidance and innovative opportunities for Leadership Development, Social and Personal Development, Academic Achievement, Community Service and Heightened Moral Awareness for its brothers throughout their lives.

Contact Chris:

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Tel: 615.921.2300

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