Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project Profile – Aiesha Turman

Photo Credit: Aiesha Turman

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Aiesha Turman.

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I began using social media, particularly Facebook, in 2005 as a grad student. I was solely curious about it and wanted to see what was so “great” about it.

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

Social media has allowed me to create an amazing following for my documentary film and subsequently the nonprofit organization it spawned which works with young women and girls in New York.  It’s allowed me a platform to use my voice, as well as share information I think is important. I’ve met some amazing women who I’ve become friends with, gotten work, been published–a lot of great things have come from social media.

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?

For the most part, people have found out about me and my work via social media. Tweets about The Black Girl Project have been retweeted quite a bit and because of that, I’ve been able to have film screenings, speaking engagements, and donations to the nonprofit organization and more.

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?

Embracers, nurturers, and change makers — all of the same roles that women play in the real “real world”

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

Educator, advocate, creator, storyteller, curator, social do gooder, community builder, and mentor

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

Always check information before you re-post something as to its accuracy. You give as much as you get.

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

I’m not sure how to answer this, because I see all of the roles you outlined and all of the ones I see myself fulfilling as intersectional–intertwining and building from one another. As with any roles, I am sure my role in the digital space will change and grow.

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

Zerlina Maxwell–she not only produces information, but is very smart and opinionated. Lisa Nicole Bell–her online and offline work really illustrate, for me, how to use social media to enhance what is being done on the ground. Toni Blackman–though she’s extremely accomplished creatively and she shares her work, it’s her personal story sharing and engagement that makes her an amazing leader.

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

  • Seek out and engage with other women in order to build collaborative spaces.
  • Be bold and share what they do unabashedly. I know we have been socialized against that sort of thing, but I know I personally enjoy reading and learning about the work of other women.
  • Be yourself. A lot of folks hide behind a facade and create alternate persona. Be your true self and let your light shine.

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