Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Kamy Wicoff, CEO and Founder of SheWrites.com.
The Digital Sisterhood Network wishes Kamy a Happy 40th Birthday! Happy Third Anniversary of SheWrites.com!
1) How can people find you online?
- Web Site/Blog: www.shewrites.com and www.kamywicoff.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/shewritesdotcom
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/shewritesdotcom and http://twitter.com/kwicoff
2) Why did you start using social media?
I started using social media when I founded my website, shewrites.com, which is a social network for women writers in 2009. I had been hosting a real-life salon for women writers for many years, and had seen how important networking was to promoting the work and interests of women who write. I wanted to see what would happen if we created a similar community online, and made our knowledge and resources available to women beyond New York. It turned out to be a great idea!
3) What has social media allowed you to do in your life (personal, professional, business, nonprofit, community)?
I can’t believe how much it has enriched my life and expanded my horizons! I have connected with women from all over the world, and had the enormous pleasure of connecting them with one another. I love the freedom and possibility of these new technologies, that allow us to offer each other information, encouragement and support in real time and in ways that make unprecedented relationships possible. I love She Writes and She Writers, and I love it even more that the community has taken ownership of the site for themselves, using it as a hub and a resource.
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?
Social media IS the way that I lead — primarily through blogging, when I feel there is an issue that is pressing for our community, and by empowering women to use the tool. One of my favorite stories is about two women who connected on She Writes, one a Zulu novelist in South Africa, another a white woman writer in Bullet City, Arizona, who helped each other figure out author analytics and became She Writes friends. She Writers have even come together to edit anthologies and create new collaborative work. Then I am not so much leading as facilitating, and I think I like that best.
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 you covered it!
6) What types of leadership roles do you play in social media?
Thought-leader, curator, promoter, advocate, community builder, and creator
7) What lessons have you learned as a leader in the digital space?
I have learned that there is no substitute for the initial, careful, thoughtful investment you put into your social media presence. It is very time-consuming at first, but it’s absolutely critical to begin by investing a lot of time and care. In She Writes’ first year, I did almost nothing else! And now it has the generous, supportive tone I established and other tacit “rules” in its DNA, and I don’t have to monitor it nearly as closely.
8) Do you have plans to expand your leadership roles in the digital space? If so, what are they?
I do, but I’m not quite ready to share the plan yet! Look for an announcement in the next few weeks.
9) Who are your favorite social media women leaders and why?
Well the Digital Sisterhood, obviously! I also admire the leaders of BlogHer, Shelby Knox, Amanda Marcotte, and Lauren Cerand.
10) Share three ways women can use social media to define and express their personal leadership brand.
- Be generous — use social media to support others, and they will support you.
- Be brave — don’t shy away from controversy, because that’s often where the conversation starts.
- Be offline sometimes. It is so important to keep your life grounded in ways that being online simply can’t provide.