It’s Day #10 of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign. Today’s blog post features an excerpt from Chapter 13 of Ananda Leeke’s new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. The title of Chapter 13 is Making It Personal with Blogalicious’ Passion. Enjoy!
Chapter Thirteen: Making It Personal with Blogalicious’ Passion
“Being Blogalicious means to be genuinely passionate about your relationships, your work and your passions, rooted in social media, and to live that passion.” Stacey Ferguson a/k/a Justice Fergie, Blogalicious co-founder and chief curator
Something spectacular in the world of social media happened on October 9-11, 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia. It was the Blogalicious Weekend, the inaugural conference created to celebrate diversity in the blogosphere. The conference attracted women bloggers of color and other interested women and men.
The W.O.W. Factor
The 2009 conference theme was “Your WOW Factor” which referred to the unique qualities that distinguish each woman blogger in the social media market. In a post conference article I wrote for my Examiner.com column, I transformed WOW into an acronym:
“Women Owning Who they are through the content, connections, communities, and commerce they create as they share experiences, insights, opinions, humor, creativity, expertise, and information. In short, they represent 21st century sisterhood.”
The conference kicked off with a Friday night of fun that included a welcome cocktail reception sponsored by “So In Style” by Barbie and Pine Sol. During the reception, I had an opportunity to meet and chat with the Migdalia Rivera of Ms. Latina blog, Nirasha Jaganath of Mommy Niri, Yakini Etheridge of The Prissy Mommy Chronicles blog, Renee Ross of Cutie Booty Cakes blog, Thien Kim of I’m Not the Nanny blog, and PR professional Xina Eiland. Chatting with these women helped me quickly recognize that Blogalicious was more than a conference. It was a movement comprised of a bold new breed of brilliant and beautifully different women bloggers.
The next two days of the conference were spent attending sessions that discussed social media basics, taking your blog to the next level, the possibilities and pitfalls of being on the Internet, the art of small business blogging, marketing to women of color, hot social media trends, secrets to a successful blog, and blog-life balance. I was able to teach an office yoga session for social media users. The feedback I received from several attendees including Boni Candelario of CoachMUp.com encouraged me to approach Maria Bailey, founder of MomTV, about hosting a yoga class on her online network, during the conference. She welcomed my proposal and later approved it for launch a month after the conference.
Throughout the conference, I used my flip video camera to conduct interviews with women bloggers and speakers including my digital diva shero, Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, founder of NiaOnline.com. When I returned home, I posted the videos on my YouTube channel and shared them with the Blogalicious community on Facebook and Twitter. I also launched a Blogalicious interview series on my Sisterhood the Blog radio show that featured many of the conference attendees and speakers. These efforts helped me give back to and truly embrace the Blogalicious community as my own.
Making It Personal
During the opening reception, I spent a lot of time sipping cocktails and chatting with Xina. We learned we were both born in Michigan and currently living in the D.C. metropolitan area. Throughout the conference, we reconnected with each other and other women like “WhimsiGal” founder of Whimsicard, LLC from the D.C. area. When we returned home, we used Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay in touch. We also discussed our Blogalicious experiences on my Sisterhood the Blog radio show.
And then it happened. We reached out by telephone and agreed to meet face-to-face in D.C. Our first meeting occurred on a Sunday afternoon at the U Street Café in December 2009. Xina, “WhimsiGal,” and I sat at a table for a few hours discussing our lives, life goals, ways we could support each other, and ideas for a local Blogalicious meet up. That one conversation paved the way for our Blogalicious D.C. community building efforts.
Together, we were able to help Blogalicious co-founder Stacey Ferguson organize two D.C. meet ups in February and April 2010. Xina played a major role in securing space and media coverage, promoting the events on Facebook and Twitter, identifying speakers and sponsors, developing the agenda, and obtaining in-kind donations for both events. I served as panel moderator for the April meet up.
In addition to supporting the Blogalicious D.C. community, we also made a commitment to support each other and our business goals as accountability partners and peer mentors. We launched our commitment with a breakfast meeting at Busboys and Poets, a popular D.C. hangout, in January 2010. Seated on comfy chairs with herbal tea and delicious breakfast items to keep us company, we shared our expertise. Xina became my PR coach. She convinced me to follow her instructions on branding for my books, artwork, yoga practice, speaking and sponsorship opportunities, and coaching services. I became her creativity coach and helped her develop a social media plan to support her intention to blog and learn more about social media tools.
You can purchase Digital Sisterhood on Amazon.com.
If you are in Washington, D.C. on October 19, please plan to attend Ananda’s author talk and book reading from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street, NW (three blocks from the U Street/Cardozo Green Line Metro Station). Click here to register for the event. See you on October 19th!