Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Maggie Arden


Photo Credit: Maggie Arden

Photo Credit: Maggie Arden

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Maggie Arden, founder of Southern Yankee Speaks blog.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke discovered Maggie’s fantastic blog posts while visiting the Feminism 2.0 web site. She later invited Maggie to participate in Digital Sisterhood Radio’s Feminism Online Project Series in 2011. Click here to listen to a recording of their conversation.

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Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I have kept in touch with family and friends, expand my professional circle, and promote and raise money for issues I can about from women’s issues, to the environment to health issues.  I also am able to keep up with organizations I support and spread the word about their work.

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

I have kept in touch with family and friends, expand my professional circle, and promote and raise money for issues I can about from women’s issues, to the environment to health issues.  I also am able to keep up with organizations I support and spread the word about their work.

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 has helped me find organizations to get involved with, which have led to leadership positions.  My work at Fem2.0, and my role there has allowed me to take the lead on various projects, and act as a representative of the organization at in person events in my area, as well as helping me develop as a professional and board member.

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: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (2013), 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?

The list of roles in incredible, and incorporates much of what I see women doing online.  I also see women as innovators in how social media is being used for advocacy, community buildings and story telling.  Women have also found new ways to connect a physical group through social media.

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

My goal is to always be advocating or promoting an issue of importance to me.  I also act as a curator and story teller through my writing and work to bring other women’s writing to my online network.

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

Starting out it was a little scary to throw up a tweet with my thoughts and opinions for the world to see.  My thoughts are my thoughts and they can’t be wrong.  They can be changed by others just like I can change someone else’s.  For as much as you end up teaching others, it’s important to try to learn as well.  Follow people you disagree with – it will help you form your opinions and a strong response – even if you never share it with them.

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

I am working to find new and different blogs to write for, and expand my knowledge and writing to other issues and areas I am passionate about.

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

Melissa Harris Perry has done an amazing job using Twitter to start a discussion on feminism, race and gender, and encouraging and including her students in the process and showing them a worthwhile use of new media. Joan Bamberger has taken on the mommy-blogger stereotype and shown how women (and moms specifically) are and can affect change in politics. Lisa Maatz does an amazing job educating and advocating for women’s issues  online, as well as on the Hill.

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

  • Pick your issues, promote, education and discuss them through social media and share the results of the discussion.
  • Show a little of yourself.  When presenting a professional persona it can be hard to lighten up and share a personal side, but it helps people connect and better understand you.
  • Don’t be shy. Without interaction we don’t connect and the social aspect is lost.  Everyone is an expert in something and in everything else we are all students.  Social Media is a great way to share your expertise and learn the rest from others.
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