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#InternetGeek Tuesday: #InternetGeekat50 Lesson 4 B.L.O.G.

Happy #InternetGeek Tuesday!

Speaking at Press Publish - Photo Credit: Christine Holsey
Speaking at Press Publish – Photo Credit: Christine Holsey

#InternetGeekat50 Lesson 4 is B.L.O.G. Last weekend, I attended the WordPress Press Publish Portland Conference. I shared my B.L.O.G. mantra and how I began blogging for personal reasons and evolved into a social media leader for the White House during my “Blogging for Obama” session. Here’s what B.L.O.G. stands for:

B – Be yourself in your blogging process

L – Love the stories you tell on your blog.

O – Open yourself to new ideas and opportunities.

G – Give back.

I have included a more detailed description that I used in my session presentation below.

Photo Credit: Jerry Mahoney
Photo Credit: Jerry Mahoney

B – Be yourself in your blogging process. Give yourself space to manage the fluctuation of your energy, focus, and passion with digital wellness. I define digital wellness as a gift you give yourself to help manage your time online with mindful self-care practices. Mindful self-care practices encourage you to slow down, become aware of how you spend your time online, and identify and take small steps towards having a healthier digital life. Examples include breathing exercises, journaling, massage, meditation, physical movement (walking, running, yoga, and aerobic classes), rest (naps and a good night’s sleep), setting time boundaries, and using time management tools (HootSuite, TweetDeck, and an editorial calendar) to schedule your blog and social media posts (excerpt from my book Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online.

I started blogging as a result of a writing block in my novel-writing process for Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One in 2005. My book editor urged me to blog to create a daily writing practice. Guess what? He was right. It worked because I wrote for myself. I didn’t think about attracting or pleasing an audience. I just wrote to express my thoughts about my book and its characters.
Photo Credit: Marcia Johnston
Photo Credit: Marcia Johnston

My blogging helped me connect with a diverse group of bloggers and social media influencers who discussed topics relevant to my novel and its characters. It also created an audience for my book before it was published. When my book was published, I started telling stories about my writing journey, the lessons I learned during the publishing process, background information about the novel’s characters, book readings, and radio and television interviews. These efforts led me to share stories about my life as an artist and yoga teacher. I ended up creating two different blogs and blog space on numerous online communities and social networking sites. That’s when trouble began. Blogger burnout. In 2008, I was overwhelmed by my self-made digital footprint. Following the advice of my life coach, I took a leave of absence from my blog. Stepping away from the blogging process helped me recharge. I also realized that I was in control of how much I blogged and it was okay to take breaks. So when blogger burnout happened again in 2011, I didn’t hesitate in taking a break. That same year, I decided to institute a monthly unplugging practice that turned into the Digital Sisterhood Unplugged Weekend.

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yogameL – Love the stories you are telling on your blog. Tap into what you are most passionate about. I tapped into my passion for yoga, creativity, and being an Internet geek as a guide in what I share on my blog. I also maintain three other blogs that reflect my passion for women in social media (Digital Sisterhood Network), digital citizenship, and my DC life and love for all things POTUS, FLOTUS, and the White House. I don’t maintain a regular editorial calendar for these blogs. I post when I feel called to or have a project I am working on that calls for blogging.

O – Open yourself to new ideas and opportunities. I opened myself up to new ideas and opportunities when I started going to blogging conferences and local social media and tech events including Blogging While Brown, BlogHer, Blogalicious, BlissDom, Feminism 2.0, Latinos in Social Media, She’s Geeky DC, Social Justice Camp DC, Social Media Club DC, Social Media Week DC, and DC Digital Capital Week. These experiences helped me establish relationships and build community with a diverse group of people. My connections and interactions exposed me to new ideas and opportunities to express and share my passion for:
jleeke-obamacampaignoffice ananda-obamaphonebank2
My greatest opportunities have occurred as a result of my passion for President Barack Obama. In 2008, I used my digital presence and yoga teaching skills to support his first Presidential campaign. During President Obama’s second campaign in 2012, my father and I volunteered in the Prince George’s County, Maryland campaign office. We also used our blogs and social media platforms to discuss the Obama campaign. After the election, I searched for ways to increase my support and began applying to participate in the White House Social events. Last year, I was selected by the White House to serve as a social media leader for the State of the Union, French Arrival Ceremony for French President Francois Hollande, and the Tumblr Q&A session on education. The U.S. Department of State invited me to serve in a similar capacity during the International Women of Courage Award Ceremony.
French Arrival Ceremony, February 2014 - Photo Credit: Dave McCulloch
French Arrival Ceremony, February 2014 – Photo Credit: Dave McCulloch
International Women of Courage Award Ceremony, February 2014 - Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State
International Women of Courage Award Ceremony, February 2014 – Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State
G – Give back. Use your blogging and social media skills to give back to causes, communities, and organizations you care about. I have used my blogging and social media skills to serve as a technology volunteer for Blogalicious Meetups in 2009-2012, CrisisCampDC and Chilean Earthquake in 2010, Andy Shallal’s DC Mayoral Campaign in 2013-14, and BlogHer’s Veteran Blogger Mentor Program in 2014. I have also given back through the Digital Citizenship Project and Digital Citizenship Month.
Photo Credit: Badge designed by Dariela Cruz
Photo Credit: Badge designed by Dariela Cruz
Many thanks to Automattic WordPress developer and designer Michelle Langston for working with me to redesign AnandaLeeke.com. Like many people, I had an older website in addition to my blog. During her session “A Tale of Two Sites: A Case Study,” Michelle discussed how we worked together to combine my two sites into one that would truly express my personality and meet my online goals. I participated by sharing the web content challenges I faced and how I overcame my fears with her support.
Michelle and me at Press Publish
Michelle and me at Press Publish

TRANSFORMATIVE is the best word to describe my Press Publish experience. I invite you to read my #Storify blogs which feature social media highlights including tweets and photos that I hope will give you an idea as to why the conference was so transformative for me.

Click here to learn more about Press Publish and the upcoming April 18th conference in Phoenix, Arizona. REGISTER NOW so you can have a TRANSFORMATIVE experience too.

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#YogaMonday: #Yogaat50 Lesson 4 Everyday

Happy #YogaMonday!

I spent the weekend at the WordPress Press Publish Conference in Portland, Oregon. During my talk on Blogging for Obama, I invited the audience to take a digital wellness moment that included several yoga deep breathing exercises. Much later in the day, I talked to someone about my “Yoga Everyday” approach to living and teaching yoga. It’s pretty simple. I help everyday people incorporate gentle and office yoga into everyday of their lives while often wearing everyday clothing.

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#Yogaat50 Lesson 4 is EVERYDAY. My very first yoga teacher Gloria taught me that yoga begins with the breath in 1995. She also encouraged me to practice yoga EVERYDAY by breathing deeply and mindfully. She also encouraged me to add a yoga pose to my daily practice. I have followed her wisdom and continue to share it with my yoga, Reiki, and creativity coaching clients. What does your yoga practice look and feel like?

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#PressPublish Portland Conference Was TRANSFORMATIVE!!!

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TRANSFORMATIVE is the best word to describe my adventures at the WordPress Press Publish Conference held on March 27 and 28, 2015, in Portland, Oregon. It was so transformative I have decided to blog about it this week (Monday-Friday). So get ready for Press Publish highlights on #YogaMonday, #Internet Geek Tuesday, #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday, #CreativityThursday, and #FierceLiving Friday.
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Until then, I invite you to check out my #PressPublish Storify blogs.

They feature social media highlights including tweets and photos that I hope will give you an idea as to why Press Publish was so transformative for me.
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Did you attend the conference? What were your favorite moments and key takeaways?

Did you watch the conference on livestream? What did you like the most? What did you learn?

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#FierceLiving Friday: #FierceLivingat50 Lesson 3 WELL-BEING

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Happy #FierceLiving Friday!

#FierceLivingat50 Lesson 3 is WELL-BEING. For me well-being encompasses my spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial health. On Wednesday, my Ameriprise financial advisor Judy Weathers invited me to attend a “Women and Wealth” seminar.
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During the seminar, I found myself thinking about the many ways Judy has helped me create financial well-being by having a positive relationship with money, setting financial goals based on my life’s priorities, budgeting, saving, and investing. This month, we celebrated 12 years of working together. I am truly blessed to have her in my life. How do you define well-being?

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My 3/28 WordPress Press Publish Conference Session: Blogging for Obama on March 28

presspublishblogphotoGreetings All,

I’m headed to Press Publish, WordPress’ first-ever conference for bloggers at the Embassy Suites in Portland, Oregon. I’ll be speaking at three sessions on Saturday, March 28:

  • Blogging for Obama (10:15 am) – I will share my B.L.O.G. mantra and how I began blogging for personal reasons and evolved into a social media leader for the White House.
  • A Tale of Two Sites: A Case Study (10:45 am) – The session will be led by WordPress developer Michelle Langston, the chief web designer of my new and improved AnandaLeeke.com. Like many people, I had an older website in addition to my blog. Michelle will discuss how we worked together to combine my two sites into one that would truly express my personality and meet my online goals. I will chime in with the challenges I faced in creating the web content for my new site.
  • From Blog to Book Panel Discussion (4:15 pm) – Andrea Middleton will moderate a panel of bloggers/published authors Mary Laura Philpott, Cecilia Gunther, Jerry Mahoney, Christine Lee, and myself. We’ll talk about how we came to publish books and how blogging influenced our journey to publication.
Photo Credit: http://presspublish.events
Photo Credit: http://presspublish.events

If you are unable to attend the conference, you’ll be able to watch the sessions in the Queen Marie and Fireside rooms via livestream (you’ll be able to see my sessions — just remember the time difference between the East and West Coasts). Click here to sign up for a free livestream ticket.

I have included a summary of my Blogging for Obama session below.

Photo Credit: http://thehealthylivinglounge.com
Photo Credit: http://thehealthylivinglounge.com

The session will start with a short introduction and a digital wellness exercise. Take a few moments to read my Press Publish Speaker Spotlight bio to learn more about me. The digital wellness exercise will focus on deep breathing. When you breathe intentionally and deeply, you invite yourself into the present moment. The more you breathe intentionally and deeply, the more open you become to PEACE.  When you have PEACE, you are free to IMAGINE. Your imagination helps you DREAM. Your dreams help you CREATE and INSPIRE others in your blog and life.

Find a comfortable seated position in your chair. Come to the edge of your chair and place your feet flat on the floor. If you are wearing glasses or shoes, take them off to relax. Create hip width distance in between your legs. Take a deep breath through your nose and exhale it through your mouth. Notice how you feel. Now do it SEVEN more times. As you exhale, release or pause any thoughts or to do lists you carried with you into this moment. To learn more about creating a digital wellness plan, click here for tips.

wpid-cropped_header_1427089349153.jpgMy Blogging for Obama journey is rooted in my B.L.O.G. mantra.

B – Be yourself in your blogging process. Give yourself space to manage the fluctuation of your energy, focus, and passion with digital wellness. I define digital wellness as a gift you give yourself to help manage your time online with mindful self-care practices. Mindful self-care practices encourage you to slow down, become aware of how you spend your time online, and identify and take small steps towards having a healthier digital life. Examples include breathing exercises, journaling, massage, meditation, physical movement (walking, running, yoga, and aerobic classes), rest (naps and a good night’s sleep), setting time boundaries, and using time management tools (HootSuite, TweetDeck, and an editorial calendar) to schedule your blog and social media posts (excerpt from my book Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online).

I started blogging as a result of a writing block in my novel writing process for Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One in 2005. My book editor urged me to blog to create a daily writing practice. Guess what? He was right. It worked because I wrote for myself. I didn’t think about attracting or pleasing an audience. I just wrote to express my thoughts about my book and its characters.

My blogging helped me connect with a diverse group of bloggers and social media influencers who discussed topics relevant to my novel and its characters. It also created an audience for my book before it was published. When my book was published, I started telling stories about my writing journey, the lessons I learned during the publishing process, background information about the novel’s characters, book readings, and radio and television interviews. These efforts led me to share stories about my life as an artist and yoga teacher. I ended up creating two different blogs and blog space on numerous online communities and social networking sites. That’s when trouble began. Blogger burnout. In 2008, I was overwhelmed by my self-made digital footprint. Following the advice of my life coach, I took a leave of absence from my blog. Stepping away from the blogging process helped me recharge. I also realized that I was in control of how much I blogged and it was okay to take breaks. So when blogger burnout happened again in 2011, I didn’t hesitate in taking a break. That same year, I decided to institute a monthly unplugging practice that turned into the Digital Sisterhood Unplugged (#DSUnplugged) Weekend.

yogameL – Love the stories you are telling on your blog. Tap into what you are most passionate about. I tapped into my passion for yoga, creativity, and being an Internet geek as a guide in what I share on my blog. I also maintain three other blogs that reflect my passion for women in social media (Digital Sisterhood Network), digital citizenship, and my DC life and love for all things POTUS, FLOTUS, and the White House. I don’t maintain a regular editorial calendar for these blogs. I post when I feel called to or have a project I am working on that calls for blogging.
dsn_lll300
O – Open yourself to new ideas and opportunities. I opened myself up to new ideas and opportunities when I started going to blogging conferences and local social media and tech events including Blogging While Brown, BlogHer, Blogalicious, BlissDom, Feminism 2.0, Latinos in Social Media, She’s Geeky DC, Social Justice Camp DC, Social Media Club DC, Social Media Week DC, and DC Digital Capital Week. These experiences helped me establish relationships and build community with a diverse group of people. My connections and interactions exposed me to new ideas and opportunities to express and share my passion for:
jleeke-obamacampaignoffice ananda-obamaphonebank2My greatest opportunities have occurred as a result of my passion for President Barack Obama. In 2008, I used my digital presence and yoga teaching skills to support his first Presidential campaign. During President Obama’s second campaign in 2012, my father and I volunteered in the Prince George’s County, Maryland campaign office. We also used our blogs and social media platforms to discuss the Obama campaign. After the election, I searched for ways to increase my support and began applying to participate in the White House Social events. Last year, I was selected by the White House to serve as a social media leader for the State of the Union, French Arrival Ceremony for French President Francois Hollande, and the Tumblr Q&A session on education. The U.S. Department of State invited me to serve in a similar capacity during the International Women of Courage Award Ceremony.
Photo Credit: Badge designed by Dariela Cruz
Photo Credit: Badge designed by Dariela Cruz
 G – Give back. Use your blogging and social media skills to give back to causes, communities, and organizations you care about. I have used my blogging and social media skills to serve as a technology volunteer for Blogalicious Meetups in 2009-2012, CrisisCampDC and Chilean Earthquake in 2010, Andy Shallal’s DC Mayoral Campaign in 2013-14, and BlogHer’s Veteran Blogger Mentor Program in 2014. I have also given back through the Digital Citizenship Project and Digital Citizenship Month.
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New White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman Has #SocialCivics Plans

Greetings All,

I just learned that more digital citizenship creativity is coming to the  White House with the new Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman, a Twitter veteran, in April. Click on link to read about his #socialcivics and provide feedback on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Use the #socialcivics hashtag and tweet him at @goldman:
https://medium.com/@goldman/the-internet-the-white-house-and-you-and-me-b6e033ebf096.

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#CreativityThursday: #Creativityat50 Lesson 3 NURTURE

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Happy #CreativityThursday!

NURTURE is #Creativityat50 Lesson 3. Artist dates are one way I nurture my creative heart and spirit. Last week, I visited my niece Jordan at her college, Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. While I was there, we planned an artist date to see exhibitions by mixed media artist and painter Chitra Ganesh and painter and sculptor Kehinde Wiley at the Brooklyn Museum, one of my favorite places to visit in New York City.

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Seeing Ganesh’s awe-inspiring mural dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali reminded me how much I missed working with goddess mythology in my work as a wire sculptor. I fell in love with her life-size arms and use of hair to make words.imageimageimageimageimage

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Wiley’s magestic and massively large paintings of young African America men and women stirred my desire to paint my story as an African American woman on a large canvas.

How do you nurture your creative heart and spirit? Do you make artist dates? What do you do on your artist dates?

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#DigitalSisterhood Wednesday: #DigitalSisterhoodat50 Lesson 3 MENTOR

Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Digital Sisters!

#DigitalSisterhoodat50 Lesson 3 is MENTOR. Today, I’m celebrating the mentor relationships I have with Digital Sisters of the Year Ayoka Chenzira, Danica Kombol, and Sylvia Wong Lewis.

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Ayoka Chenzira (known as Ayo) is the Founder and Director of Spelman College’s Digital Moving Image Salon in Atlanta, Georgia. Ayo is an Award-winning filmmaker, interactive digital media artist, and one of the first African American women to write, direct and produce a 35mm feature film. She is also the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Digital Media from Georgia Institute of Technology. We met through my Digital Sisterhood Radio interview series in 2010. Our conversation was soulful and filled with a kindred sisterhood spirit that I knew would bond us for life. She later invited me to participate as a panelist and speaker in several Spelman College’s digital media events in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. When she and her daughter HaJ premiered FUNNEL CAKE FLOWERS & THE URBAN CHAMELEONS, their digital interactive production, at American University in Washington, DC, my dad and I attended and became instant fans of their work. HERadventure, an interactive sci -fi movie that combines live action with on-line game elements, is her latest collaborative effort with HaJ and a personal favorite of mine. Her passion for digital media, filmmaking, telling stories about women of color, and joie de vivre inspire me greatly.

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Danica Kombol is Founder and President of the Everywhere Agency, a woman-owned social media marketing firm in Atlanta, Georgia. We met during the Blogalicious Conference in Miami, Florida in 2010. Our first conversation centered around the Haitian goddess Erzulie and her firm’s work with Macy’s Heart of Haiti Campaign. It was a magical sisterhood connection. After learning more about the Heart of Haiti Campaign, I applied to become a Blogger Ambassador. When my application was accepted, my life changed. Here’s how. I was selected by the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Fairwinds Trading, and Macy’s to travel to Haiti with Danica and an incredible group of women bloggers, social media influencers, and digital communications professionals in 2011. During the trip, Danica and I roomed together. We had so many great conversations, Reiki sessions, and yoga by the pool moments. Our bond of sisterhood grew exponentially. After our trip, I continued working with Danica and her Everywhere team on the Heart of Haiti campaign. Whenever we attended social media conferences like BlissDom, Blogalicious, and BlogHer, we made time to connect and catch up. During my trips to Spelman, Danica always made sure to come out and support my speaking efforts or host special events at her office or home to welcome me to town. She has given me zillions of hours of social media and marketing advice for my business. One of my favorite moments with Danica is the time she introduced me during my book launch at her offices in 2014. Her words of appreciation filled my heart with an abundance of gratitude for her presence in my life.

Photo Credit: Sylvia Wong Lewis
Photo Credit: Sylvia Wong Lewis

Sylvia Wong Lewis is the Founder of Narrative Network, a legacy blog and media consulting firm in New York City. Sylvia is an award-winning journalist, teacher and media professional with over 30 years experience in corporate communications and multicultural marketing. She is also a filmmaker, foodie/chef (with a delicious Instagram page), gardener, genealogist, photographer, and proud Smith College alumna. In 2013, received a Telly Bronze Award for creative excellence for her documentary production of “From Shanghai to Harlem,” an American migration and immigration story that portrays her mixed Chinese and Black family by exploring slavery, freedom, music, love, identity, and diversity. She also received the AVA Digital Award’s Gold Award for creativity and video editing in documentary production.

One evening while having dinner with my digital sister Xina Eiland at Chocolat, one of my favorite restaurants in Harlem, I met Sylvia and her husband Byron. We became fast friends and kept in touch. A month later, I invited her to participate in the NYC Digital Sisterhood Month Meet Up at the Brooklyn Museum. After the event, she interviewed me and wrote an article for her Examiner.com column. Our sisterhood bond deepened when we began a series of social media tutorials. The tutorials often included Sylvia sharing her life wisdom with me. I began to rely on her counsel for major career decisions and make a point of scheduling quarterly chats with her to check in and see what’s happening in her world. Recently, I was in New York and paid her a visit. During our visit, she hired me to do a one-on-one social media training on the spot. Having her as a client reminds me of how she always encourages me to spread my wings as a businesswoman and creative person. Our friendship and mentor-mentee relationship are  rooted in authenticity, sisterhood, and reciprocity. What a blessing!

Photo Credit: www.lcsc.edu-
Photo Credit: http://www.lcsc.edu-

Each of these dynamic digital divas has been a sounding board of advice for my life, creativity, career, and business. They have provided nurturing support and opportunities to express and share my gifts. We have also spent quality time together in person and on the telephone chatting about a wide variety of things. I trust their counsel and feel blessed to have them in my life.

MENTOR is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, Webster’s Dictionary defines it as, “someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person; a trusted counselor or guide; a tutor and coach. Webster’s states that mentor as a verb means “to teach or give advice or guidance.” When I think of my mentors and the role I have played as a mentor, my definition includes some of Webster’s key words: teaching and giving guidance or advice as a trusted coach with the intention of showing positive support and providing constructive criticism that improves the mentee’s life and career experiences. What is your definition? Do you have a mentor? Are you serving as someone’s mentor? What advice have you have given or received as a mentor or mentee?