Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Anissa Mayhew


Photo Credit: Anissa Mayhew

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Anissa Mayhew, founder of #FreeAnissa and AimingLow.com. AimingLow.com is hosting its first non-conference on October 12 and 13 in Georgia. Click here for more information.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke has been a fan of Anissa’s for several years.  Her authentic spirit, wit, humor, and willingness to share what she knows inspires Ananda. They finally met in person and had several great conversations during the BlissDom Conference in February 2012.

 

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I first started using for fun, then I learned it was a good way to communicate with listening ears if you had a message worth sharing. After I had my strokes in 2009 my message changed, it became less about the effect of the world on me and more about the incredible influence you have on those around you. Being strong, positive and full of love is a common thread in each thread, no matter how funny or poignant it is.

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

My youngest daughter had Leukemia. Social media allowed me to be active on a whole new level in the pediatric cancer community. When I had my strokes, social media allowed me to raise awareness and keep an audience involved in my recovery, therapy, the struggles, the triumphs, the limitations and the things I refused to BE limited by.

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?

I run a business with the blog Aiming Low.  My business uses social media in Facebook groups as a way to talk and grow our writers’ sense of community. Through social media, I stay connected to people I meet at meetups and conferences. When those people see the links I share to Aiming Low and FreeAnissa, it becomes its own advertising.

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?

Every role I can think of can fall into one of those.

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

  • Advocate (pediatric cancer, stroke patients)
  • Community builder (organizing the Aiming Low Non-Conference)
  • Creator (creating an app that identifies/review locations for accessibility)
  • Educator (teaching about the world of strokes, wheelchairs)
  • Influencer (positivity)
  • Motivator (urge others to do good, be positive)
  • Promoter (links to blog posts for myself and others)
  • Social do gooder (pediatric cancer community,  charity efforts in general)
  • Storyteller (blogger and book writer)
  • Thought leader (Love to make others think about THEY are doing and how they are capable of more)

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

The most important lesson I had to learn was “DON’T let the pain of other people’s slights stop you from your greatness.” There is a talent in knowing how to ignore those that want you to fail.

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

In the fall Aiming Low will host its first conference. I plan to use social media to promote, share, and encourage that event each step of the way.

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

There are too many to name. But they are the ones who are grounded in truth, always themselves whether online or IRL (in real life) and the same quality of person you meet if you are well-known or a new face.

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

  • Remember that social media is like a “party line” everyone is seeing what you say and who you say it to.
  • Social media is your digital footprint. Don’t do, say, or be anything you know you wouldn’t be okay with a year from now.
  • Understand the differences in the audiences and the quality of conversation in different social media outlets. You may have tens of thousands of Twitter followers, but only 5% of US people use Twitter.  Forty-five percent of US people have Facebook accounts. KNOW your audience. Be effective.
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