-- Annaliese Nielsen is turning the typical image of sororities on its head.
She’s the founder of an exclusive digital group, “Girls Night In,” which could be shaping the future of friendships. It’s a secretive online community made up of elite all-female movers and shakers.
When people refer to “Girls Night In” as an online sorority, Nielsen agrees.
“I think that’s what it is,” she told ABC News. “It’s a club, and it’s a bunch of girls, or at least people who don’t identify as male, getting together and doing all kinds of stuff.”
There are nearly 2,000 ladies in the Los Angeles-based “Girls Night In,” ranging in age from 18 to mid-40s and includes everyone from executives to former reality show contestants to actresses and models. If you try searching for the exclusive group however, don’t be surprised if you can’t find it by the name “Girls Night In.” The name actually changes frequently based on members’ inside jokes.
Getting into the highly selective group is tricky. At least three veteran women in the group have to nominate new members and, even then, they have to be deemed worthy of entry.
“One of the most interesting things about ‘Girls Night In’ is the exclusivity,” said Kristen V. Brown, a technology reporter with Fusion. “They cull members who are not active [in the social media group] because those are the lurkers who might spill the secrets. That allows it to be this really supportive, bare-all-your-dirty-laundry community.”
Posts are about everything from politics and relationship advice to fashion guidance.
Within three minutes of being a guest in the group, ABC News’ Kayna Whitworth had almost 30 comments on a picture posted of her outfit that fellow members thought looked like fashionable pajamas.
There are also more serious posts. One member posted that she had been raped.
“Any experience that these people can have does get talked about,” Nielsen, 32, said of the women who feel safe enough in the group to discuss difficult topics.
And if someone wants to connect in person, not just through the computer, it’s not unusual to place a post and see what happens. Nielsen’s online suggestion of a wine and pizza party brought a dozen women to her home within an hour.
“It’s one more resource to feel like we’re less alone,” one member said.
Critics of “Girls Night In” say that, similar to real-life sororities, the group’s exclusivity gives it a bit of a “Mean Girls” persona. But members say their group’s not about being mean, it’s about supporting one another.
“It’s not exclusive in a snooty way,” Korama Danquah, a “Girls Night In” member, explained. “It’s exclusive in a way that we want to keep the group a group of people that we can trust.”