Join Digital Sisterhood Network Founder Ananda Leeke at Press Publish Conference on March 28!


Press Publish Conference in Portland

Press Publish Conference in Portland

Greetings Digital Sisters

Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke is heading to Press Publish, WordPress’ first-ever conference featuring WordPress bloggers and the people behind WordPress.com, on March 27 and 28 in Portland, Oregon. While she’s at Press Publish, she’ll lead a session on “Blogging for Obama” that will give her an opportunity to share how she began blogging for personal reasons, evolved into a social media leader for the White House, and learned how to make the most of opportunities that have presented themselves as a result of her blogging adventures on March 28.

She’s also serve as a panelist for Michelle Langston’s session, “A Tale of Two Sites.” During this session, you’ll have a chance to look at her older AnandaLeeke.com web site and blog and learn how Michelle transformed them into a new and improved site that fully expresses her personality and online goals.

In addition to these sessions, you’ll be able to dive into a day of learning with presentations and tutorials led by an amazing group of speakers including Digital Sister of the Year Kathy Cano-Murillo, founder of the CrafyChica.com, on blogging 101, blogging on the go, going pro as a blogger, storytelling, turning your blog into a book or business, writing, WordPress design and plugins, and so much more. Click to see the schedule.

Oh yeah, you’ll get to attend a Friday evening mixer where you will meet your fellow bloggers, receive your attendee packet, and enjoy storytelling by Longreads, snacks, and libations.

Guess what? The generous and groovy Press Publish team is offering a special 40% discount to the conference! Click here and use the special coupon code SISTERHOOD40 to register. One last thing — your ticket purchase also gets you a 1-year subscription to the WordPress Premium upgrade, a $99 value, that you can use on any WordPress.com blog. A coupon code and instructions on how to redeem it will be included in your ticket confirmation email.

See you in Portland!

Day #7 of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign: Read Chapter 9 Excerpt


Happy Monday!

It’s Day #7 of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign. Today’s blog post features an excerpt from Chapter 9 of Ananda Leeke’s new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. The title of Chapter 9 is Blogging Sets My Writer Spirit Free. It discusses how Ananda started blogging in 2005 and the lessons she learned.

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley, www.leighmosley.com

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley, http://www.leighmosley.com

Chapter Nine: Blogging Sets My Writer Spirit Free (Copyright 2013 by Madelyn C. Leeke)

“I love blogs, and I also love the concept behind blogs: the juicy meta of this idea that you can represent yourself, your ideas, your work, your thoughts, your art – a random or wild or skillful or free or calculated version of the nexus of artist – person – marketer – public private self in html for the world to jump into like a birdbath, squawking back about what they see.” Deb Rox, author of Five Ways to Blank Your Blog

My debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One brought me to blogging. Wayne P. Henry, my book editor, suggested I try blogging as a way to overcome my writer’s block and to establish a regular writing practice. Wayne thought blogging on a regular basis would help me relax and surrender to the natural flow of my creative process. Desperate, I pushed past my own skepticism.

On February 1, 2005, I posted a poem on my author blog hosted by Blogger.com. In that moment, I knew exactly what Yoani Sanchez, author of Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth about Cuba Today, felt when she wrote, “I’ve only written a few lines, but now I am a blogger.” For the first two years, my blog served as a safe haven. I blogged about my writing journey, archived my research for my novel, and shared excerpts from my draft manuscript. Most of my research included articles, quotes, photos, YouTube videos, and links to blogs and web sites related to Love’s Troubadours’ characters and subject matters. They included Afro-Latinos, art, Black men and women, Buddhism, chess, fashion, feminism, historically Black colleges and universities, Haitian art and culture, home décor, Indian culture and history, London, music, museums, online dating, popular culture, spoken word poetry, travel, women’s issues, and yoga.

The more I blogged, the freer I felt in my writing practice. After a few weeks of blogging, my goal of developing a consistent writing practice began to manifest. I was able to use parts of my blog posts as dialogue or background in my novel. In addition, I developed a weekly ritual of reading other blogs such as Cathy Delaleu’s Lyrically I am Yours, a Haitian-influenced art and poetry blog; and Natalie Lue’s Baggage Reclaim, a London-based dating and relationship blog. Each time I visited these blogs, I learned how other bloggers shared their life experiences and interests. They used stories, diary entries, essays, prayers, poetry, photos, podcasts and videos to communicate their authentic voices. I also learned how they interacted with their blog readers through the discussions held in their comment sections.

My blogging life expanded in 2006 when I joined Myspace, a popular social networking site used by a lot of musicians and creative professionals at the time. I used my Myspace blog to cross-post my author blog posts. I also started following people who shared the same interests in art, books, films, music, popular culture, self-care, and spoken word. I read their status updates and blogs, watched their videos, and left comments on their pages. Several people like author and filmmaker Abiola Abrams and Yasmin Coleman, founder of A Place of Our Own Books and Book Club, started following me back and commenting on my page. We developed a social networking relationship that caused them to visit my author blog and leave comments on a regular basis. They also shared my blog links with their network.

After I published Love’s Troubadours in August 2007, I was able to tap into my author blog and Myspace audience for author interviews and support with my online book party and virtual book tour. Joining Black Author Showcase, a social networking site for African American authors, literary professionals, book clubs, and readers that was established by Diane Williams, Stanford Battle, and Rey O. Harris, gave me valuable information on how to use social media as an author. It broadened my book’s audience, exposed me to writing and publishing resources, and introduced me to new social networking sites. I also cross-posted my author blogs, became friends with many members and left comments on their pages, participated in the discussion forums, and shared helpful information and lessons learned from my author journey. As a result of my active participation, I was selected as Member of the Month and was interviewed on Black Author Showcase’s Talkshoe.com radio show in February 2008.

Later that year, I began using my author blog as an online journal for my second book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery. Many of my blog posts that featured artwork, poetry, reflections, and stories were included in the book. I also started attending blogging conferences like Blogging While Brown, the first international conference for bloggers of color. This experience deepened my understanding of social media, strengthened my online relationships with fellow bloggers, inspired me to explore podcasting and video blogging, and created a network of support for my book launch.

By the time I published That Which Awakens Me in 2009, my blogging life had helped me to:

  • Identify and sustain my passion for writing books.
  • Maintain a regular writing practice.
  • Overcome writer’s block.
  • Communicate and stay connected to my audience which included readers, workshop participants, and creativity coaching clients.
  • Create and experiment with content for my books.
  • Give back to others by sharing helpful information.
  • Promote and market my books and services as a writer, speaker, coach, and workshop facilitator.
  • Generate content that could be used in author talks and interviews.
  • Obtain interviews and positive media coverage in print and new media.
  • Learn about and stay updated on social media and the ways authors use the tools to promote their work and services.

My podcasting and video blogging became the centerpiece of my digital life after That Which Awakens Me was published. Although I maintained my author and yoga blogs on a weekly basis, I increased the time I spent communicating with my audience on Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning.com social networking sites, and Twitter. I also began experimenting with several podcasts, live streaming shows on Stickham.com and UStream.tv, and videos about my author journey, creativity coaching, yoga practice, and passion for entrepreneurism, green living, women in social media, and spirituality.

It’s been nine years since I entered the blogosphere. My author and yoga blogs have been incorporated into one blog that captures my adventures as a creative professional, yoga teacher, and Internet geek. With the support of an editorial calendar, I write about yoga-inspired topics on Yoga Mondays; social media and technology on Internet Tuesdays; and the arts and creativity on Creativity Thursdays. My passion for fashion, food, fun, and my D.C. lifestyle is expressed on my Tumblr blog, Ananda@16thandU: Lifestylista in Love with DC. With this blog, I don’t adhere to a blogging schedule. I do it when I have something to say which means there are times when it goes weeks without an update.

Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter are essential to my blogging life. They serve as my go-to source for audience engagement, content distribution, information sharing, and networking. I also my email lists, niche communities like BlogHer and SheWrites.com, and StumbleUpon, a web search engine that identifies and recommends content to its users, to share my blogs’ content.

I’m still a diehard fan of podcasting, live streaming, and video. Digital photography and photo-sharing sites like Flickr, Instagram, and Pinterest have become my new favorites. I enjoy sharing photos from these sites in my blog posts, tweets, and Facebook status updates.

 

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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!

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Melissa Bugaj


Photo Credit: Melissa Bugaj

Photo Credit: Melissa Bugaj

 

Photo Credit: NightLightStories.net

Photo Credit: NightLightStories.net

 

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Melissa Bugaj, co-founder of NightLifeStories.net and According to Mags blog.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke met Melissa during the Podcasting 101 session at the BlogHer 2012 Conference in New York City. After the session, they chatted about Melissa’s podcast series. Ananda became an instant fan!

DSN_LLL150

Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I began using social media in 2008 when we started our podcast, Night Light Stories. I started a Facebook page and then followed with a Twitter page.

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

Social media has allowed me to connect with other people who share the same interests. It also has given me opportunities to learn more about podcasting and blogging. I’ve been able to utilize social media to view professionals in this area and learn from their expertise.

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?

Since we have been producing the podcast for five years, we have helped others who are launching podcasts or thinking of starting one. We gave them tips on what we have learned through the years.  An example would be when we asked to interview the “Mommy Podcast” founders. We compared stories and shared our recording skills which helped to improve our podcasts. Everyone had something to share.

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?

Women are also trailblazers in social media. There are always new types of media or subjects to address. Women usually take a more sensitive subject and bring it into light with a little bit of sensitivity.

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

I am a storyteller, an educator, a creator, and an advocate for family time and providing positive learning to children.  We have built a community of listeners. I mentor my friends who are just starting out in the social media world. I promote myself and others who I find influential. You should always share other resources that are positive and useful. I think that by working together and supporting each other, that can help to build a strong sense of community.

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

I have learned that you are nothing without the support of others around you. Everyone out there has something to offer. You never know how you can help someone each day. Wen you do help someone, it makes you feel like you are contributing. You can’t do it all on your own and finding people who can share ideas is invaluable.

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

I would really like to be able to expand my leadership roles in the digital space. One thing I would like to do is apply to speak at conferences about podcasting or writing. I feel that after five years of experience of producing this podcast with my husband, we have some useful information and tips to share.

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

One of my favorite social media women leaders is Mur Lafferty, host of “I Should Be Writing” and the editor of Escape Pod (science fiction podcast). Mur is a writer who interviews other authors on her podcast in order to learn from them and share valuable writing and publishing tips with her listeners.

I also admire MommyCast founders Gretchen and Paige. They were one of the first groups of “mommy podcasters.” They interview the latest movies, products, and ideas for raising kids.

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

In the 21st century, women are providing a multi-model experience. This is a way to draw in a maximum amount listeners and readers. It will help make others to feel comfortable in communicating with you as a host if you are seen in writing, video, and audio.

Meet Digital Sister Leader Ericka Tinsley — She’s headed to #Blogalicious12!


Photo Credit: Ericka Tinsley

Meet Digital Sister Leader Ericka Tinsley, Chief Blogger of The Swarthy Suite and founder of the Fro-Fi Collective and Chocolate Chat Atlanta.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke and Ericka first met at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference held in Miami in 2010. In 2011, Ericka and Ananda reconnected at Spelman College’s  Digital Doyennes: Wisdom from the Women who Lead in Social Media and Digital Innovation in Atlanta. This year they spent time together at Everywhere’s Digitini event in Atlanta. Ericka will be speaking about community building through collaboration on September 30, 2012, at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check her out if you are headed to Vegas!

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using social media when I launched a t-shirt business online people with natural hair.

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

Social media has helped me meet cool people, participate in social campaigns, travel to conferences, and work with companies and brands.

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 have been able to co-create a business and social media networking event called Chocolate Chat: www.chocolatechatatlanta.com.

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?

Brand ambassadors and video bloggers

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

Blogger, video blogger, speaker, teacher, accessibility assistant for social media for people with disabilities, and tweet-up coordinator

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

We have a voice that people listen to and follow. So be very careful how you influence your viewers.

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

Yes. Teaching social media online.

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

  • Blogalicious co-founder Stacey Ferguson and the Blogalicious community of women
  • Danica Kombol, co-founder and managing partner of Everywhere
  • Ananda Leeke

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

Establish a niche and audience as a nonprofit organization to teach women and men all over the world.

Meet Digital Sister Leader Jennifer James — She’s headed to #Blogalicious12!


Photo Credit: Jennifer James

Meet Digital Sister Leader Jennifer James, founder of the Mom Bloggers Club, the first social network for mom bloggers, and Mom Bloggers for Social Good, a global coalition of mom bloggers representing 16 countries who use social media and blogging to advance information to their networks about pressing global issues.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke and Jennifer first met at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference held in Atlanta in 2009. Later that year, Jennifer shared her Blogalicious experiences and discussed her work with the Mom Bloggers Club on Ananda’s Digital Sisterhood Radio. Click here to listen to the episode. Since then, Jennifer and Ananda have reconnected and chatted at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in 2010. They both supported and attended the Heart of Haiti campaign’s 2011 event at Macy’s in Washington, D.C. Jennifer will be participating as a panelist for the Blog Community Jam Session on September 28, 2012, at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check her out if you are headed to Vegas!

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using Twitter way back in 2007. I was an early adopter of social media and have continued to use it in new ways ever since.

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

Social media has literally allowed me to create a business of myself and has taken me all over the world.

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?

Through social media you are able to create who you are, what you do, and how you will get there. Everything has to be authentic and honest, of course, but you can kick down doors that otherwise you might not be able to get through. Through social media I have been able to connect with people I would otherwise have to get on a plane to meet in New York City or Los Angeles. It is the great equalizer.

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?

Women are huge creators and generators of social media content and yet whenever I go to tech conferences women are rarely there. It’s insane. We understand the medium the most and yet have the least to say about it or don’t have the opportunity to talk more about how social media is a leadership tool.

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

I like to think I am a leader in the mom blogging space since I’ve been involved with the community since 2004. I hold a leadership role in that respect.

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

You always have to be authentic and stay consistent.

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

I  have plans to use social media in a more collective way for good. I have already started doing that with @socialgoodmoms, but I have even greater plans for the future.

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

I can’t name just a few. There are so many it’s hard to choose from.

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

Women need to be consistent in their social media approach. That is, women need to keep their handles the same across social media platforms. They also need to touch them every day with at least one update. Always be authentic and personable and never think you’re too big (based on numbers) to talk to everyone.

Meet Digital Sister Leader Krystal Grant — She’s headed to #Blogalicious12!


Photo Credit: Krystal Grant

Meet Digital Sister Leader Krystal Grant, a South Carolina born and bred woman who wears the hats of wife, mother, sister, daughter, English teacher, writer, radio host, and founder of Krystal Grant’s Guide to Life blog. Krystal is currently serving as the Managing Editor of MyBlogalicious.com.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke and Krystal first met at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference held in Miami in 2010. Krystal and Ananda reconnected while sipping wine in the Wine Sisterhood Suite at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in 2011. Krystal will be speaking about finding your niche as a blogger during the MyBlogalicious Poolside Chats on September 28, 2012, at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check her out if you are headed to Vegas!

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using social media in 2008. I originally started my blog to get the attention of a publishing company in hopes of acquiring a book deal.

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

Social media has connected me with so many wonderfully talented people that I may not have had an opportunity to meet otherwise.

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 given me a voice. My blog has allowed me to share ideas that I would not have had the confidence to share prior to my blog. Now, I have pride in the fact that people are listening to what I say and often times I am responsible for shaping their opinions on a variety of topics.

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?

Women create content on daily basis. Not only do we influence others by giving motivating personal stories about our triumphs, but we promote brands and encourage interactions.

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

As James Andrews has said on many occasions…we are content creators. Social media enthusiasts, like myself, are change agents. We influence our audience to think about things in a new way. We give them fresh perspectives, new insight.

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

I’ve learned that I create my own rules.

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

The social media platforms change each day and I’m learning to change with them. I’m currently working on my web series Krystal Grant Stomps The Yard. This is a documentary that highlights historically black colleges and universities in order to promote the profound impact they have on our community.

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

Marie Forleo — How can you not love her. Marie has the best video blogs ever created. She always has remarkable advice for women entrepreneurs.

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

Women use their stories to inspire other women who may be experiencing similar situations. Women also promote bonds between people who may not have a chance to meet face to face.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Christie Glascoe Crowder — She’s headed to #Blogalicious12!


Photo Credit: Christie Glascoe Crowder

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Christie Glascoe Crowder, author of Your Big Sister’s Guide to Surviving College, blogger, lifecaster, social media consultant, and speaker. Through writing, speaking, and consulting, Christie helps others discover their true passions and entrepreneurial spirit. She also hosts The ChatterBox Show on BlogTalkRadio.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke and Christie met during a Blogalicious beauty event held during the BlogHer Conference in 2009. They reconnected at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in 2009 and 2010. Christie will be speaking about Pinterest and Google+ tools on September 30, 2012, at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check her out if you are headed to Vegas!  

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started blogging in 2006 after I wrote my first book, Your Big Sister’s Guide to Surviving College. I started chronicling my journey through life as a first-time published author and new mom.

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

Social media has given me an outlet for expression and a sense of community that I’ve never felt before both personally and professionally. Professionally speaking it allowed me to do things I thought were only dreams like having my own radio show.

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’m not sure if I can say I’ve carved out a “leadership role,” but I feel that social media has allowed me to be a connector.  Through my blog and online shows I’ve connected many people to other like-minded people, connected people with new breakthroughs in technology, and connected people with their inner selves.

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 pretty much covered all of the ones I would have said.

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

I would say I am an advocate, creator, curator, influencer, motivator, and storyteller.

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

While you may have mentors and role models…people you admire and want to “be like” in this digital space, always BE YOURSELF. Take your place in the sun and not in the shadow of another. Find your own “place.”  The Internet (so far) is infinite…there’s room for everyone.

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

I’m always in “forward motion,” but not always with a plan.  I’m on my surfboard and will ride wherever the wave of creativity takes me.

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

  • Aliza Sherman is just an all around digital pioneer. Her wisdom in this space is unmatched.
  • Stacey Ferguson , one of the co-founders of Blogalicious…enough said….
  • Shameeka Ayers, the queen of social branding in my opinion
  • Ananda Leeke … for the digital sisterhood

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Elena Sonnino — She’s headed to #Blogalicious12!


Photo Credit: Elena Sonnino

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Elena Sonnino, founder of CiaoMom.com and JustBeEnough.com.  Elena is a mom, a teacher, a wife, a runner and triathlete, and a cancer survivor.  She is also a member of the Heart of Haiti Campaign’s Bloggers4Haiti and the American Cancer Society’s Blogger Advisory Council.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder and Elena met during the Heart of Haiti event at Macy’s in December 2011. They serve as Heart of Haiti blogger ambassadors. Elena traveled to Haiti with a group of mom bloggers earlier this year. Click here to watch a video about her experiences.

In August, Elena and Ananda reconnected and shared memories of Susan Niebur a/k/a @whymommy, an amazing blogger, scientist, mom, and wife, at the American Cancer Society’s booth at the BlogHer 12′ Conference. They will spend time together at the American Cancer Society’s “Bowl for More Birthdays” event at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference on September 29, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you are headed to Vegas, make sure you say hi to Elena and support the American Cancer Society.

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using social media with Facebook when I was recently separated and was looking for ways to connect with others in 2007. In 2009, I started blogging when I realized that it was time to begin to tell the story of being a cancer survivor, divorcee, and mom.

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

My blogging has evolved from a hobby to a passion and has allowed me to leave education and teaching to pursue a full-time career in freelance writing, social media, and social action. I am incredibly lucky and honored to be involved in social action campaigns like More Birthdays, Bloggers4Haiti, and Shot@Life as well as having had the opportunity to share my voice as a cast member for the DC Listen to Your Mother. More importantly, social media has enabled me to believe in my voice and has led me down a path of new friendships where I learn and laugh with women in this space every day.

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 believe that social media has helped me carve out leadership roles as my confidence has increased and the belief that my voice matters.  I founded a collaborative site in 2011 (Just.Be.Enough.) and have been able to lead a team of women writers that contribute to the community each day. Additionally, I believe that I am an active leader in the social action arena inspiring others through my work with More Birthdays, Bloggers4Haiti, and Shot@Life that they can make a difference by just doing it.

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 love the idea of these roles.  Collaborator and facilitator would be two that I would add (although they might be redundant). I believe that to be a leader you need to be able to collaborate and work to foster independence and self-sufficiency in others.

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

Advocate, community builder, creator, educator, motivator, social do gooder, and influencer

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

My biggest lesson is that there are a lot of us in this space, some even doing similar things and sharing similar messaging. The important thing is not to see others as competitors, but to identify what our individual strengths are and then work collaboratively to strengthen the entire community.

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

I absolutely would like to start increasing my role as a public speaker. In the education space I was an expert in my field and spoke and facilitated workshops at the local and state level. I thrive when speaking to groups and engaging people in conversations that lead to new thinking.

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

Leticia Barr is the epitome of professionalism, mentor, and friend. Morra Aarons Mele is a mentor and an incredibly savvy woman. Christine Koh is a thought leader, community manager, influencer, and advocate. Sheila Dowd is an incredibly brilliant leader, business woman, and mentor. Cat Lincoln is an incredibly thoughtful leader, business woman, mentor, and friend. Chrysula Winegar is a fabulous connector, motivator, thought leader, and mentor.

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

  • Identify what you are truly passionate about and use that voice to be positive and impactful.
  • Collaborate instead of compete with others.
  • Remember that you are your brand. Staying positive and being generous with your voice and your knowledge will only strengthen the community as a whole.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Brea Ellis


Photo Credit: Brea Ellis

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Brea Ellis,  a fourth generation native Washingtonian and founder of What I Wore: Tip to Toe, a personal style blog. Brea’s blog offers a glimpse into her life and closet. She is also an entrepreneur who offers her services as an Online Communications Consultant. She live tweets from events, sets up blogs, and much, much more!

Photo Credit: Fashion Night Out DC

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke and Brea have known each other since 1995. They met during the First Sunday meditation meetings for African American women hosted by Brea’s mother, Janis Ellis. Brea and Ananda reconnected during Fashion Night Out DC at Violet Boutique and spent the evening visiting boutiques in Adams Morgan. See the photo collages of their Fashion Night Out DC adventures below.

Brea inspired Ananda to relaunch her Tumblr blog as lifestyle blog, Ananda@16andUStreet: Lifestylista in Love with DC (soft launch on September 18). Guess what else? These ladies have decided to create an event partnership for two fashion, beauty and lifestyle-inspired events for Digital Sisterhood Month in December and several events in 2013. Look for more news in the coming weeks!

Fashion Night Out DC 2012 with Brea and Ananda in Adams Morgan

Fashion Night Out DC 2012 at Violet Boutique in Adams Morgan – Ananda and Kaarin

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using social media (blogging) in 2008 because I was living far from home in San Francisco and had just started a new job at Monster.com. My mom called and asked “How Was Your Day” (the name of my first blog on Tumblr) and wanted to know WHAT I WORE: tip to toe! (name of my current blog on Blogger.com) on my first day of work. I snapped a photo and emailed it to her but she couldn’t figure out how to open an attachment. So I continued snapping my outfits all week and posted them on a blog.

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

I’m currently employed as the Director of Social Media/Digital Media Analyst for a local Labor Union based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Blogging has allowed me to make some amazing like-minded fashion friends here in D.C.

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 am excited about leading the upcoming “Fashion Crawls” where I will partner with the Digital Sisterhood Network to lead Fashiontonians on a shopping tour of Washington, D.C.

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?

Women and their fashion often start the online conversation. Women are almost always the brand ambassadors just as they are typically the decision makers when it comes to household purchases. Sales people know if you get the women, you get the sale.

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

I am the connector; bringing together brands with potential customers and like-minded individuals with one another. I love to make “Twitroductions.”

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

I have learned to share, but do so with a purpose and a conscience…not everything you think is relevant to others or appropriate to share. Know your medium and your audience and you’ll never go wrong.

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

Yes, I am excited to expand my leadership role by hosting salons where Digital Sisters can come together and share IRL (In Real Life).

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

I love Bevy Smith (@bevysmith) for her ability to be a connector extraordinaire! I also love Whitney Stringer (@WhitneyStringer) for her supportive and humble attitude towards PR…and her amazing events!

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

  • Know your audience.
  • Know your medium (Facebook, Twitter, and blog)
  • Stay true to your voice.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Simone Jacobson


Photo Credit: Simone Jacobson with her fellow actresses as they prepare for the performance of Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai’s play, Say You Heard My Echo, via Google Hangout.

 

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Simone Jacobson, blogger, co-founder of Smart Chicks Network, poet, writer, and curator, events coordinator, and social media manager at Busboys and Poets.

Fun Fact: Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) founder Ananda Leeke met Simone when she participated in the DSN’s DC Women in Social Media Focus Group series featuring creative social media women at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C in August 2010. Ananda became an instant fan of Simone’s amazing work!

 

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using social media in my early teens. I remember sitting in front of the computer screen watching AOL chat load with my best friend. It used to be a truly social experience then. My dad, my friends, and my sister would always be involved. We’d all kind of participate together, like watching a movie or something. It was new and we were exploring it together.

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

In my personal life, social media has allowed me to stay connected to friends and family all across the globe, from Morocco to Burma and France. But, I was a letter writer back when people still sent snail mail, so I’ve always been committed to staying connected to the people I love.

As a professional tool, social media has been most useful to me in connecting to what I’d consider “community celebrities” or mid-level thinkers and doers in their respective fields. That is to say, not the level of famous that requires an intermediary, but hard-working and talented enough that they might have missed an e-mail from me, but perhaps responded to a Facebook mention or tweet. I definitely expanded my network of hip-hop scholars via social media, and many of them are digital sisters and brothers, though I’ve never met some in person.

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 allowed me to refine my writing skills. I’ve written for TheRoot.com, The Pink Line Project, The Couch Sessions, and The Lantern Review online. These platforms were influential in my development as an arts critic, a journalist, and in my creative writing practice, as well. I recently launched a new space for conversations about gender and the role our self-identification as male, female, or “neither” in daily living: http://sim1ontharun.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/dancing-as-gender-performance.

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?

Women definitely lead important conversations in the digital space. Think Arianna Huffington or Dream Hampton. Think of the comical “Texts from Hillary” or Philippa Hughes of The Pinkline Project in DC. Think the co-founders of Hyphen Magazine (http://www.hyphenmagazine.com) or Ruby Verdiano (http://rubyveridiano.com). These women are their own brands. It’s inspiring to see how self-promotion via social media can be leveraged for the greater good, including the benefit of the woman herself, working hard, writing and curating content online. I think a lot of people take for granted how much work it takes to run a successful and active digital space.

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

I think my biggest “leadership role” in social media is as the steward and co-founder of the Smart Chicks Network (SCN). This network is a resource-sharing platform for intelligent, ambitious and generous women in the DC area, and includes postings about jobs and other announcements. SCN has allowed members to get jobs, connect with other similarly minded individuals, and even helped beautiful women (who are not stereotypically wafer-thin models) gain experience modeling for a new kind of forward-looking publication due out this fall, NeonV Magazine (http://www.neonvmag.com).

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

Words matter. Protect yourself, but know that the Internet is very porous and you can only control your own voice. In some cases, there are no “take backs” once you put it out there. The economy of language is a gift (as proven by the ubiquitousness of Twitter), so learn it well!

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

Not at the moment. My new blog, he said // she said // they said, is a relatively humble project, but one I’m enjoying immensely: http://sim1ontharun.wordpress.com/about.

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

I named a few above, but really, YOU! Ananda, you are so dedicated to the digital sisterhood and I’m so happy I met you online and off. You rock!

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

  • Control your image as much as possible. See a video of a performance you were in that you don’t like? Ask to have it taken down. Do a Google search of yourself every now and again. Is there an image on someone else’s Facebook page you want removed? Don’t ever hesitate to ask or “untag”. Protect yourself, but again, you can only control your own output at the end of the day.
  • Articulate your goals and mission, personally and professionally, as succinctly as possible. The way people use the Internets is mostly sporadic and unfocused. Think like an editor or a headlines writer. Would you read about you based on the first 3-5 words you see?
  • Be humble, kind and truthful, yet unafraid to celebrate your successes. I know that may seem contradictory, but consider the purpose of each word you put out into the universe. If you’re trying to get a job, use your LinkedIn profile to shine and don’t hold back. But, if you’re a panelist and they ask you for a SHORT bio, don’t be wordy! Most of all, be a leader because you feel compelled to be one. Don’t be a brand, have one. Who you choose to be should never be defined by perceptions of who you are, especially not by folks online. The Internet can be a cozy wall to hide behind, as well as a wonderful resource and connectivity tool, so don’t take any of it personally.
  • And ladies, if I may offer one final piece of advice, you gotta have a sense of humor about it all at the end of the day.