Logo by Dariela Cruz
It’s the final day of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign. Today’s blog post features an excerpt from Chapter 14 of Ananda Leeke’s new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. The title of Chapter 14 is Empowerista Declares Her Digital Sisterhood Manifesto. Enjoy!
Chapter Fourteen: Empowerista Declares Her Digital Sisterhood Manifesto
“A manifesto is a bold and powerful public declaration of what you stand for. It’s a catalyst to step up to the platform of your innermost truth. It’s a call to action of how you want to sculpt your words and efforts for the betterment of humankind.” Sianna C. Sherman, founder of ManifestoMovement.com, poet, and yoga teacher
Right after the Blogalicious Weekend ended in 2010, I sat with my PR coach Xina eating lunch and chatting about our conference takeaways in the poolside café at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami. One of my greatest takeaways was interviewing conference attendees about their definition of digital sisterhood and realizing how much they embraced, identified with, and adored the phrase. The other takeaway was learning how Twitter conversations that use hashtags and are scheduled on a weekly basis help build community, influence, and relationships during a keynote presentation given by James Andrews, founder of SocialPeople.tv.
I told Xina how Andrews’ presentation convinced me to launch #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday, a weekly Twitter celebration that would use the Friday Follow format to give women in social media an opportunity to build and strengthen their communities. She suggested I make a video about it. So I gave her my camera and we spontaneously recorded a short video that invited women to participate in #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday by tweeting other women and sharing information about their blogs, businesses, campaigns, causes, creativity, dreams, expertise, experiences, events, lessons learned, and links to social media and web sites. The next day I reserved and paid for Digital Sisterhood’s domain name and registered it on Twitter. My Sisterhood the Blog web site and radio show were renamed to reflect this change.
October 13, 2010, marked the launch of the first #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Twitter celebration. I had no idea if women would embrace it. It was something bigger than me. It felt like I was called to do it. So I stepped up and did it without a real plan or expectation for what would come next. It was organic and fluid. Something directed from my innermost truth. And then it happened. My Blogalicious sisters jumped on board and began tweeting and retweeting each other. They breathed life into what my intuition was guiding me to do.
What is Digital Sisterhood?
As the weeks passed by and more women participated in the Twitter celebrations, I began to journal about the meaning of digital sisterhood. I reread blog posts I wrote and notes I made about conferences, events, and meet ups I attended. I watched video interviews and listened to podcasts and radio interviews featuring women bloggers I met. The end result was a statement that echoed my feelings about the power of women in the digital age:
Digital Sisterhood is the feminine currency women use to create relationship wealth through the connections they make, conversations they have, communities they build, causes they support, collaborative partnerships they establish, and commerce they engage in with women they meet online and offline. The relationship wealth of digital sisterhood is based on what women care about and their shared interests and experiences. This wealth supports women as they stand in their own power and reclaim themselves online and offline. When they do so, they move with a power not seen before. It is rooted in women being fully,
P – Present when they
O – Own their lives as
W – Women who believe they have
E – Everything they need to live out their
R – Revolution of authenticity.
When all women know their investment in themselves and each other, they will yield a high return!
This statement became my manifesto, a catalyst for me to embrace my calling: celebrating women in social media. It also transformed me into an Empowerista, a woman who creates and curates content, shares information and experiences, connects with others and establishes positive relationships, and builds and participates in communities that empower her and others.
Digital Sisterhood Month
Digital Sisterhood Month developed as a result of women asking me what I was going to do next with the #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Twitter celebrations. I didn’t have an immediate response and was not looking to develop another project. However, my intuition stepped in once again and whispered, “host a month-long celebration that women can participate in annually.” I tried to ignore my inner voice, but it kept getting louder. Just when I was ready to run for the hills, my inner voice reminded me of my manifesto. I took a deep breath, did some yoga, gave myself some Reiki healing touch, sat in meditation, and said a prayer of surrender.
Guidance on what to do began to sprinkle itself into my daily activities. It helped me develop a schedule of online events including blog posts, Digital Sisterhood Radio interviews with women thought leaders, suggestions on how women could celebrate with their online and offline networks, Twitter chats for #DigitalSisterhood Wednesdays, giveaways, and online yoga classes. Offline events for D.C. area women including a writers’ meet up at a woman-owned tea café, field trip to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and yoga class field trips to woman-owned studios were held. In addition, Shameeka Ayers, an African American woman, wife, mother, and Chief Lifestyle Officer of The Broke Socialite, was selected as the Digital Sister of the Year because of her achievements and community building efforts as a blogger, entrepreneur, and founder of lavish!, the first unconference for lifestyle social networkers.
Digital Sisterhood Network
One of the most popular questions I received during the first Digital Sisterhood Month celebration centered on my plans for 2011. I honestly didn’t have any until I realized how appreciative women in the digital space were for Digital Sisterhood Month. So I said another prayer of surrender and waited for my guidance. When it came, it showed up as the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN), a media channel that promotes digital sisterhood as a self-care, self-discovery, and social justice movement for women in social media. Once again, I had no idea what this meant or entailed. I followed my intuition and went with the flow of the year which produced a series of initiatives.
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!