Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project Profile – Shonell Bacon


Photo Credit: Shonell Bacon


Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Shonell Bacon.

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I’m a communicator by nature. My degrees are all in some facet of communication.  I have always enjoyed the ways in which we choose to disseminate information. I was also one of those college students staying up for days on end, excited about talking in chat rooms in the early-, mid-90s.  So the idea of communicating with others online has always been a part of me.  Added to that, I’m an author. One part of being an author is promotion and reaching out to readers. So social media seemed like the perfect venue to communicate several things: my life, my goals and aspirations, and my writing.

3) What has social media allowed you to do in your life (personal, professional, business, nonprofit, community)?

Social media has allowed me to reach a broader, deeper audience of readers for my creative work. It has also provided networking opportunities with people I would have never met without social media. It has enabled me to connect with others on projects outside of my own personal initiatives. For example, in April 2012, I, along with other authors, participated in the Authors4Trayvon drive, promoting our literary wares and offering proceeds for a fund to the Martin family. In addition, I think social media has made me more aware of the political world around me.

4) 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.  They include 87 million women (18 to 76 years old) are now online, 69 million women use social media weekly, 80 million women use social media monthly, and 55 million women read blogs monthly. These facts illustrate the power and presence women have in the digital space. Now that’s Digital Sisterhood!

How has social media helped you carve out leadership roles as you interact online and offline?

Leadership roles. Hmmm. I know for a fact that without social media, I would not have grown into my roles as an editor and a teacher of the writing craft. Once upon a time, I had to promote myself in these regards, but through my interaction with social media–publishing articles online, writing blog posts regarding the writing craft, and holding intimate digital conversations about writing–word of mouth gets me my jobs, gets people coming to me asking for advice. I think the same can be said about my academic life, too, as I tend to share a lot of my goings on online and as such, people gravitate to me, asking questions, wanting me to look over something, etc.

5) Social media has helped women become Digital Sisterhood Leaders, ambassadors of social expression who share what they are passionate about online.  In her upcoming book, Digital Sisterhood: Fierce Living Online for 25 Years (Fall 2012), Ananda Leeke, founder of the Digital Sisterhood Network, 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.”

What other types of leadership roles do women play in social media?

I think those 12 encompass whatever other roles you try to identify, and many of these blur lines. In fact, I think many Digital Sisterhood Leaders encompass all of these and do them fluidly without even noticing.

6) What types of leadership roles do you play in social media?

Maybe I’m being egotistical, but I think I play all of these roles to some extent; advocate, community builder, creator, curator, educator, influencer, mentor, motivator, promoter, social do gooder, storyteller, and thought leader.

7) What lessons have you learned as a leader in the digital space?

Being a leader takes strategy. You might initially jump in because you have this great idea, and you are eager to get it out to the masses, but at some point, you will learn the art of planning, strategizing in order to create a successful project, launch that is beneficial to you and others involved.

8) Do you have plans to expand your leadership roles in the digital space? If so, what are they?

I have my hands in so many digital spaces right now, LOL. I’m hoping, the more I work on my dissertation, to expand my educational leadership roles as I explore more of women’s identities within digital spaces, to include virtual worlds.

9) Who are your favorite social media women leaders and why?

I’m a mommy blogger fan.  So I have to put Heather Armstrong on the list as well as LaShanda Henry, who is like a social media dynamo. I’m also a fan of Danah Boyd. I read a lot of her research on social media and intersections between technology and society. I’ve also been a huge fan of Shireen Mitchell since I joined Twitter a few years ago and caught up with her tweets.

10) Share three ways women can use social media to define and express their personal leadership brand.

Before the social media, I think, comes the thinking.

What brand do you want? What constitutes that brand? What forms of social media can best develop this brand? Thinking about these things prior to using social media, I think, is crucial.

Blog – and have an agenda attached to that blogging.

Explore – every day, there are new social media platforms being born.

The goal isn’t to be on ALL of them. The goal is to be on the ones that are most effective for you. Can’t do that unless you try, try, try.



2 thoughts on “Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project Profile – Shonell Bacon

  1. I would like to follow up on the branding issue that was mentioned about the article. How do I go about doing that? Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s