Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project Profile – Charreah K. Jackson


Photo Credit: Charreah K. Jackson

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Charreah K. Jackson.

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

Using social media was a natural progression for me as someone who always enjoyed computers and communicating. I joined Facebook when you still had to use your college email address to sign up. I continued to be active on various networks because I have always been a people person and loved reconnecting with old contacts and meeting new friends around the world. As a journalist, I also loved the ability to cut out the middle man in a lot of instances and get right to my source.

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

Social media has allowed me to stay in touch with the people I care about. My great-aunt in California whom I don’t get to see that often comments on something I post or write every week. It’s a a quick and easy way for me to stay in touch. Professionally, being an early user of social media has opened many doors. Out of college, my social media skills helped me land a gig as an editorial assistant for Essence.com. Less than a year in, I was promoted to Associate Editor where I launched the brand’s first Facebook page and managed their Ning.com community group. Social media helped me get my stories including sending Obama Body Man Reggie Love a Facebook message about a feature. My next job was the social media editor at a fashion and beauty public relations firm where I got to manage and create the Facebook and Twitter presence of brands like TRESemmé. Social media has been essential in my growth as a woman and as a professional as I connect with women that inspire me and also share my experiences. I have gotten speaking engagements and other projects because of tweets and blog posts. Now as an editor back at ESSENCE, I am able to bring my social media skills to help us continue to connect with readers.

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?

It has allowed me to further establish my expertise and hone my skills as an editor, educator and speaker. Each month I host a Twitter Party with ESSENCE magazine readers where we discuss dating relationships topics.  As a featured Relationships Expert on YourTango.com, I hosted a Facebook Takeover answering questions from their 50,000 Facebook fans on relationships. After tweeting and managing social media profiles on behalf of million dollar companies, I know that digital tools are only as good as our offline communication skills. I have been fortunate to merge my passions for both.

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?

Connectors, challengers, rods of enlightment, and illustrators (through images)

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

My social media roles include connector, illustrator, advocate, community builder, creator, curator, educator, influencer, mentor, motivator, promoter, and storyteller.

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

I have learned timing matters and that good social media skills start offline as a solid communicator.

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

Yes, to continue to work with media companies to fully utilize the potential of social media.

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

Ananda Leeke, Sherri Smith, Tina Shoulders, Demetria Lucas, Bridgette Bartlett, and Christina Brown

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

  • Share your story.
  • Establish your expertise.
  • Engage with like-minded individuals.
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