In her 2011 Digital Women: from geeks to mainstream presentation that was given at the WIFT International Women Conference for Digital Women, Dr. Taly Weiss, a social psychologist and CEO/Founder of Trendspotting, concluded that “women are dominant digital users – they breathe and live digital.” Dr. Weiss’ conclusion echoes BlogHer’s 2011 Social Media Matters Study findings:
- Eight-seven million women (18 to 76 years old) are now online.
- Sixty-nine million women use social media weekly.
- Eighty million women use social media monthly.
- Fifty-five million women read blogs monthly.
These facts illustrate the power and presence women have in the digital space. When women marry their power and presence, they give birth to digital sisterhood, the feminine currency they use to create relationship wealth through the connections they make, conversations they have, communities they build, causes they support, collaborative partnerships they establish, and commerce they engage in with women they meet online and offline.
They also become Digital Sisterhood Leaders, ambassadors of social expression who share what they are passionate about online. In her upcoming book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (2013), Ananda Leeke, founder of the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN), writes,
“Without even knowing it, women have become Digital Sisterhood Leaders as they use their social media platforms to advocate causes; to build communities; to create apps, art, books, businesses, products, publications, services, tools, and webisodes; to curate content; to educate and inform; to give voice to their thoughts as subject matter experts, thought leaders, and brand ambassadors; to share information and experiences; to explore and experiment with new technologies as early adopters and trendsetters; to engage in social good; to influence others with their lifestyles and personal interests; to inspire and motivate; to mentor; to network; to tell their personal stories; and to promote and celebrate the expertise, gifts, and talents of others. Based on my online and offline interactions, I have identified 12 key leadership roles they play: advocate, community builder, creator, curator, educator, influencer, mentor, motivator, promoter, social do gooder, storyteller, and thought leader.”
The Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) was established to explore, document, and celebrate the creative ways women express their leadership abilities and experiences online and offline in May 2012. #DSLead was inspired by Leeke’s participation in Spelman College Leadership & Women of Color Conference, Spelman’s LEADS Program, The Hot Mommas Project housed at the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the George Washington University School of Business, Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies, and Simmons Leadership Conference sponsored by Simmons College.
#DSLead began with a Digital Sisterhood Radio interview with Dana Theus, founder of InPower Women, which focused on the social media leadership roles women play and tips on how to establish a personal leadership brand with social media. Click here to listen the audio recording of the interview.
The launch also included a series of #DSLead Twitter chats that were held as a part of the #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday weekly celebration. See the topics of discussion below.
- May 2: The Leadership Roles that Social Media Women Play
- May 9: How Social Media Women Develop Their Personal Leadership Brands
- May 23: Social Media Women as Community Builder Leaders
- May 30: Social Media Women as Social Good Leaders
#DSLead utilized blogs, BlogTalkRadio, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube to identify a diverse group of Digital Sisterhood Leaders. Over 90 women were interviewed via SurveyMonkey.com. More than 40 interviews were featured on the DSN web site, Facebook page, Tumblr blog, Twitter, and Pinterest board. Many Digital Sisterhood Leaders were guest speakers for Twitter chats and Digital Sisterhood Radio interviews held during Digital Sisterhood Month 2012. Several were named as 2012 Digital Sisters of the Year.
In 2013, #DSLead will continue to profile Digital Sisterhood Leaders on the DSN web site and social media platforms that celebrate DSN’s theme, “Too Bold for Boundaries = Fierce Living.” The profiles will include women who utilize social media and technology in:
- Advocacy and awareness campaigns.
- College and university settings.
- Careers as communications, media, and public relations professionals.
- Educational projects that support women and girls.
- Entrepreneurial efforts with a special emphasis on technology (games, mobile apps, and other technology tools).
- Multimedia content (films, live streaming, photos, podcasts, webisodes, and videos).
Google Hangouts, Meet Ups (in Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C.), Twitter chats, and Digital Sisterhood Radio discussions will offer women an opportunity to engage directly with the Digital Sisterhood Leaders on a variety of topics. The guest blogger series will give voice to a diversity of women thought leaders on leadership related topics.
In July, Leeke will share her thoughts about social media leadership during her What Type of Social Media Leader Are You? presentation at the BlogHer 2013 Conference in Chicago, Illinois.