This afternoon, while I was reading my new book, The Social Media President: Barack Obama and the Politics of Digital Engagement by James E. Katz, Michael Barris, and Anshul Jain, I thought about how accessible President Obama (POTUS) and the White House are compared to previous administrations.
Under the new leadership of Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman, the White House Office of Digital Strategy (WHODS) has expanded the voice of POTUS through his own Twitter account so that he engages with Americans more directly. WHODS is also giving Americans a greater opportunity to have their voices heard by POTUS without any third party gatekeepers. By valuing and creating an open portal for direct conversation, the WHODS is making certain that everyone’s voice can be heard. What a great #socialcivics lesson on digital engagement! Now that’s what I call Fierce Living!
Here’s what I’d like to know. If you could have a Twitter chat with POTUS, what would you discuss?
Today, the White House announced its July 13th Conference on Aging and #socialcivics digital engagement campaign that encourages Americans of all ages to get involved. Click on link to learn how you can get involved.
Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Digital Sisters!
I believe a woman with a scarf is a woman with a story. That’s why I’m launching the #ShopVIDAwithAL digital storytelling campaign to encourage women to share stories about their favorite scarves and promote my new collection of VIDA Voices scarves that bring ART TO LIFE.
When I partnered with VIDA, a woman-owned e-commerce platform, to create my scarf collection, I thought about the many ways scarves have helped me define my signature style and tell stories about my life, creativity, and travel experiences. I also reflected on my first scarf experience. It happened nearly 30 years ago when I was a first year law student at Howard University School of Law (1986).
My mother gave me a royal blue angora sweater from Lord & Taylor that celebrated our membership in Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. She suggested I find a scarf to wear with it. My mother was and remains my scarf icon!
With limited funds, I walked to a thrift shop and spent an hour searching for scarves. The owner brought me a brown and royal blue paisley silk scarf to look at. It had just the right amount of casual elegance I needed to flaunt my new angora sweater. Yes, it was scarf love at first sight! Nowadays, my favorite scarves give me that extra “ooh la la” feeling when I travel to the White House for meetings, book meet ups with fans, conferences, events, and London.
Do you have a favorite scarf story? Who taught you to wear scarves? Where have your scarves taken you in the world? I invite you to share your scarf stories along with a photo featuring you and your favorite scarf in the comment section below or on your blog and social media. Use the #ShopVIDAwithAL hashtag.
Click here for more information on how to purchase my scarves ($40 each) with the 20% VIDAVOICES code discount this week.
Happy #CreativityThursday! Guess what my vision board book has? An image and affirmation about being a designer of a product line. They manifested in real time on Saturday afternoon when I accepted an email invitation to become a designer with VIDA, a San Francisco-based socially-responsible e-commerce platform that collaborates with artists around the world to create original and inspiring apparel and accessories. Artists participate in the platform at no cost, then receive a 10% revenue share on products sold.
VIDA CEO Umaimah Mendhro, a native of Pakistan, launched the e-commerce platform in November 2014. As a child, Mendhro wanted to become an artist, but knew it would be difficult to pursue her career dream. While she was attending Harvard Business School, she tapped into her childhood dream and knowledge that textiles are a major contributor to Pakistan’s GNP to build VIDA’s business model that pays its producers a liveable wage and offers a literacy program to factory workers. As a result, factory workers are able to build a better life for themselves and their families. Isn’t that a great business model? It’s one of the reasons I became a VIDA designer!
This week, I searched my collages, graphic designs, and paintings to find several pieces that invite people to welcome art into their lives as a gateway for self-discovery and healing. After I selected the images that decorate the covers of my three books, I worked with VIDA to transform them into my VIDA Voices collection . Drum roll please. Today, I’m proud to introduce my VIDA VOICES collection of scarves that bring ART TO LIFE! My scarf collection helps people do three things:
Create an affordable Signature Style ($40 for each scarf).
Express Social Responsibility (portion of proceeds funds literacy program for factory workers who make scarves in Pakistan).
Tell Storiesthat celebrate the power of creativity, self-discovery, self-love, and women in social media and technology (the designs were created from artwork that decorates the covers of my books which discuss these themes).
It features four designs you can choose from. Each scarf measures 80 inches by 26 inches and is made of 100% MicroModal, a soft, luxurious fabric that will add a bold, modern statement to any wardrobe. See a description of each scarf below. FYI: VIDA will produce and ship my scarf designs within 60 days if there are 3 or more pre-orders. Here’s how you can help me succeed at being a VIDA designer in the next 14 days.
Pre-order a scarf ($40) for yourself and someone special in your life, and use the 20% discount code VIDAVOICES.
Share this blog post with folks in your network via social media and email, and encourage them to buy a scarf and share the news with their network.
Take a photo of yourself wearing the scarf and post it on your blog or social media with the hashtags #ShopVIDA and #ShopVIDAwithAL. Send it in an email to your network. Be sure to send the email to me too: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post your photos on my blog and social media.
The Digital Sisterhood scarf ($40) celebrates the power of women in social media and technology. It is the perfect multipurpose accessory for women who are attending blogging, social media, and technology conferences because it celebrates their inner geek with style and keeps their warm and cozy during sessions held in chilly rooms. Its bold colors also make it a lovely summer scarf. The design theme of sisterhood gives women permission to rock it all year long! Click here to purchase it. Here’s one more thing you should know.The design is based on a logo featured on my book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (available on Amazon).
The Kreative Grooviness scarf ($40) celebrates the positive energy that awakens individuals when they embrace and express their creativity. Spring is a great time to wear this scarf to spark new creative beginnings. It can also be worn all year as a stylish reminder to honor your creative spirit. Click here to purchase it. Oh yeah, I’ve got one last thing to share about this design. It is based on my Kreative Grooviness painting that decorates the cover of my book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetical Memoir of Self-Discovery(available on Amazon).
The Karma scarf ($40) celebrates a woman’s self-discovery process which I believe is a lifelong path and commitment to Fierce Living. It can be worn as a sacred style touchstone that helps one begin to explore, deepen, understand, and honor the beauty that lies within. The striking colors make it a great autumn accessory. This scarf also represents Karma, a woman on a journey of self-discovery and the main character in my novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One. Click here to purchase it. Guess what? The design is based on my painting, Karma: One of Love’s Troubadours that is featured on the cover of Love’s Troubadours (available on Amazon)
The Karma: Aham Prema scarf ($40) celebrates a woman’s self-love journey which I believe is a daily Fierce Living practice and process. That means it can be worn 24/7 every single day of the week, month, year, and decade. Let’s just call it what it is. A lifetime signature style piece! How cool is that? What’s more, its colors evoke a sense of royalty that is perfect to flaunt during the winter months and holiday celebrations. Here’s what also makes it even more special. It represents Karma, a woman on a journey of healing and the main character in my novel, Love’s Troubadaours. Click here to purchase it. The design is based on my painting, Karma: Aham Prema (I am love) that is featured on the cover of Love’s Troubadours (available on Amazon).
Earlier this week, I walked past the White House, one of my favorite places to visit, on my way to meet a new friend. He recently moved to DC to start a new job in the building next door.
As I was waiting in line to enter the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to meet Jason Goldman, the first-ever White House Chief Digital Officer, I thought about how powerful the Internet and Twitter can be as connection and engagement tools. They connected Jason and I and began a series of blog and Twitter conversations around his new position and #socialcivics engagement when he wrote his March 24th Medium blog post on The Internet, the White House, and You (and Me). When I read his post, I was inspired to share it with my social media network. Two days later, I wrote him a letter via my blog that offered my #socialcivics ideas and tweeted him the link. In an effort to increase engagement, I encouraged people to blog and tweet their ideas. He tweeted back and thanked me for sharing.
Meeting him face-to-face was a blast! He is truly passionate about the work he is called to do as head of the Office of Digital Strategy. That’s why I took two #socialcivics selfies. Check out how cool he is with his blue glasses and cherry blosson tie!
During our meeting, we discussed the feedback I received during my Digital Citizenship session and brainstormed ways to increase his office’s engagement with social media influencers and communities. I left with a homework assignment I will be working on this weekend as a follow-up email.
Now that you have read my story, I encourage to join Jason’s #socialcivics discussion on Twitter. Send him a tweet at @Goldman44. Write a blog post. Chat with your network about it on social media. He and his team are listening!
Today, I’m leading a session on “Embracing Your Digital Citizenship” at the Blogger Week Unconference organized by Black Bloggers Connect. My session will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Impact Hub, 419 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC (in Chinatown by the Gallery Place Metro Station).
During my one-hour session, you will receive tips on ways to define and express your digital citizenship. You will also participate in a group discussion that documents digital citizenship best practices and provides feedback on White House Chief Digital Officer (CDO) Jason Goldman’s #socialcivics. Here are several resources to read before the session.
Just in case you are unable to attend my session, I have included a summary of my talking points below. May they encourage and inspire you to define, embrace, and demonstrate your digital citizenship as well as engage with your local and national communities and governments, the White House, and CDO Jason Goldman (@Goldman44 – tweet Jason about your #socialcivics ideas — he’s listening!).
DIGITAL WELLNESS MOMENT
The yoga teacher in me cannot resist sharing a digital wellness moment at the beginning of my talks and workshop sessions. Here’s a taste of what I will share today.
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.
MY DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP STORY
In 2013, I penned Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online, a book that discusses how the Internet influenced my career, community service efforts, creativity, and work as the founder of the Digital Sisterhood Network. During my book tour, I gave a talk about the importance of digital citizenship at Spelman College’s Women Interactive conference that encouraged people to explore how they could marry their passionate interests with their digital presence to inform and inspire others to support causes and programs in their local and national communities.
Following my own counsel, I decided to apply to participate in the White House Social events to demonstrate my support of President Barack Obama’s policies and programs in 2014. The White House selected me to serve as a social media leader for the State of the Union, French Arrival Ceremony for French President Francois Hollande, and Tumblr Q&A session on education and college affordability. The U.S. Department of State invited me to serve in a similar capacity during the International Women of Courage Award Ceremony.
These experiences inspired me to launch the Digital Citizenship Project (DCP), an online initiative that encourages individuals to marry their passionate interests and digital presence to support campaigns, causes, events, ideas, movements, policies, programs, and values that build awareness and community, create positive change, and promote social good. Last July, I established Digital Citizenship Month.
DEFINING DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP
How do you define Digital Citizenship?
Here’s my definition: marrying your passionate interests and digital presence to support campaigns, causes, events, ideas, movements, policies, programs, and values that build awareness and community, create positive change, and promote social good.
10 TIPS ON EMBRACING YOUR DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP
1) Identify your passion and interests.
2) Find causes and campaigns that connect you to your passion and interests.
I am passionate about inspiring creative expression and healthy living. My passion motivates me to use my digital citizenship to support causes, campaigns, events, businesses, organizations, policies, and programs that celebrate and promote the arts, communities of color, creativity, digital communications, education, fitness, President and First Lady Obama, White House, Reiki healing touch, social good, social justice, Washington, DC, women and girls, world travel, social media, technology, and yoga.
3) Launch and support causes and campaigns that improve the quality of life for people in your local, regional, national, and international communities.
Here are several examples.
#BlackLivesMatter was launched in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murder and is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates American society.
Mario Armstrong’s #More4Bmore campaign was launched this week in response to the social unrest that occurred after the recent police brutality incidents in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Armstrong’s campaign is using social media to recruit creatives, doers, problem solvers, writers, leaders AND ANYONE wanting to be a part of creative solutions in Baltimore.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser established the #IWishUKnew campaign on May 1 to foster a robust conversation with DC residents on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Mayor Bowser and her administration are using this social media campaign to encourage DC residents to answer the question: What is it that you want people to know about you that they don’t know? Examples include: I wish you knew that my parents are worried that they will lose our house; I wish you knew that I am nervous that I won’t be able to find a job; and I wish you knew that I am scared when I wait for the bus at night. I really like what the Mayor stated in her May 1st newsletter, “Engagement is the first step towards empowerment and that’s why your voice is so important. I want you to know that I am listening, we are listening, and we want you to share what we all need to know.”
4) Participate in local government events and document your participation on your blog and social media.
In January, I used my digital presence to document the Inauguration of DC Mayor Bowser. I also documented the February open house event hosted by the Mayor’s Office of African Affairs,
I have built community among women in social media and technology through the Digital Sisterhood Network, Digital Sisterhood Month (December), and My #DigitalSisterhood Community Is.
6) Inspire and encourage.
Use your blog, social media, and web site to share empowering and inspirational messages. Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network does a great job of sharing messages.
7) Educate and share information.
I use my passion for yoga and training as a yoga teacher to share health-related information.
8) Blog and post positive social media status updates about local businesses you patronize in your local community.
9) Celebrate local, state, national, and international holidays and observances to raise awareness about issues you care about.
I celebrate many women-centered holidays and observances online.
10) Engage in #socialcivics with the White House and Federal Government.
The White House sponsors #WHSocials, #WHMeetups, and online events each year to engage American citizens. Visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/social to learn more about the in-person events. Subscribe to the White House blog to stay informed about online events.