Women’s History Month gives me a chance to celebrate the women in my family that have inspired me. I call them my womanline. They include my mother, Theresa Gartin Leeke; grandmothers, Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin and Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke; and great grandmothers, Iona Bolden Johnson King and Florida Jones Leeke. Who are the women in your family that inspire you?
In the first chapter of my tech memoir, Digital Sisterhood, I write about what my womanline’s digital footprint would look like if they had access to the Internet and social media. Listen to an excerpt (from 2013). Read the full chapter here. My book is available on Amazon (e-book, paperback, and hardback).
Listen to Digital Sisterhood excerpts read by yours truly (from 2013)!
Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Digital Sisters!
Today, I am giving a special #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday shout out to my #BlogHer15 Digital Sisters who are traveling to New York City to attend the 11th annual BlogHer conference on July 16-18 at the Hilton New York.
#BlogHer15 Digital Sisters come celebrate the diverse beauty, boldness, and brilliance of our BlogHer community on July 16 from 8-11PM at the third annual #MultiCulti Party at the Hilton New York. I am co-hosting the party with two amazing Digital Sisters, Pauline Campos and Dwana De La Cerna.
Guess what? The first person who arrives at the #MultiCulti Party will receive a signed copy of my book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online.
There’ll be other goodies too including the #MultiCulti Party signature drink (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) created by Pauline Campos, #MultiCulti food and cake, #MultiCulti music, and the “What’s On Your #MultiCultiMind?” Post-It Wall that allows you to write and share your definition of #MultiCulti.
Follow @anandaleeke, @pauline_campos, and @justdwana on Instagram and Twitter for updates. Use #BlogHer15 and #MultiCulti hashtags to stay connected.
I am headed to Atlanta this week to participate in a conversation about fierce living online on April 10 with my digital sister, Dr. Ayoka Chenzira, founder of Spelman College’s Digital Moving Image Salon. We’ll be talking about digital sisterhood and social media too. Copies of my new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online will be available for sale. If you are in Atlanta, plan to attend the event which will be held at 4:00 p.m. in the NASA Auditorium in Spelman’s Science Center, 350 Spelman Lane, SW, Atlanta, Georgia.
PS: For Digital Sisters in Atlanta: Drop by the Digital Sisterhood Meet Up: Cocktails & Conversation on Creativity and meet me on April 9, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Proof and Provision at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, 659 Peachtree Street, NE. Click here to register on Eventbrite.
This week, I am headed to Atlanta to speak at the second annual Women Interactive Creative Technology Conference that will be held at Spelman College on November 9. I am giving a tech talk on “Digital Sisters + Digital Citizens = Social Media Leaders.” My talk is rooted in one word: SERVE. It is an acronym that I call my secret ingredient for being an authentic Digital Sister, Digital Citizen, and Social Media Leader. Check it out below.
•S – SEE yourself as a social media leader. If you have at least one person who follows and/or interacts with you through your blog, web site, and/or social media sites, you have a platform of influence. Your influence impacts people in your online network. That makes you a leader. The moment that you see yourself as a social media leader, you begin to own your identity. Once you own your identity as a social media leader, you are faced with some important choices in how you interact online and offline in your relationships.
•E – EMBRACE digital civility practices in your online and offline interactions and relationships. Digital civility includes being respectful of others, especially in the midst of any disagreements. Treat people the way you would like to be treated.
•R – REMEMBER to UNPLUG from your digital life and practice SELF CARE by creating and following a digital wellness plan. Take breaks from your digital life. It will give you an opportunity to recharge and rest.
•V – VISIT and participate in a diverse group of online and offline communities to broaden your knowledge base and network.
•E – EXPRESS generosity in all you think, say, and do. Give back to others. Your generosity creates social capital in your online and offline relationships. Social capital is that warm, fuzzy feeling or positive impression you create about yourself in people’s hearts and minds. It paves the wave for unexpected blessings that manifest as collaborations, invitations to events, learning opportunities, partnerships, relationships with key people in your local/national/international networks, revenue generating streams, speaking engagements, and other forms of blessings.
Women Interactive is a two-day interactive technology festival for women who produce and share digital content with a special emphasis on women of color. It’s one of my favorite learning opportunities. I attended the festival last year and learned so much. If you are in Atlanta, join me at the event. Click here to register.
Digital Sisterhood Book Graphic Design Process: This week, my amazing graphic designer, Dariela Cruz published a blog post about the work she did to make my book’s cover art come to life. Click here to read all about it.
Author Chat Video Series: On October 14, I hosted my first author chat for my Kickstarter donors. The chat was divided into two videos. See the links below. Let me know what you think about the videos in the comment section.
2) October 23 @ 9-10:00pm EST – Author Twitter Chat – Follow @digitalsisterhd on Twitter. Use the hashtag #digitalsisterhood and Tweetgrid.com, Tweetchat.com, or Hootsuite to participate in the conversation.
Q: In your writing, you tell stories. How did you become a storyteller?
AKML: I grew up around women who loved to tell stories about their lives. My grandmother, great aunt, and mother shared photo albums, scrapbooks, clothing, jewelry, and memorabilia from events they attended to illustrate their stories. Their stories were told so often I memorized them. Eventually, they were embedded into the tapestry of my life. In high school, college, and law school, I proudly wore their vintage clothing and jewelry with my outfits and told stories about the items to my friends. I still wear these items and share stories. Wearing their things reminds me of who I am and where I come from. It connects me to them at all times.
Q: This book is your second memoir. Who are your favorite memoirists?
AKML: Dr. Maya Angelou is the first memoirist I read in junior high school. I love how Dr. Angelou tells her life stories in a series of books. I adore how Alice Walker and Ntozake Shange have used poetry to tell their personal stories. My friend and activist/artist/scholar Tim’m West’s poetical memoir gave me freedom to write my first memoir. I also enjoy reading memoirs written by feminist scholar and cultural critic bell hooks, artist Faith Ringgold, and yoga teacher Cyndi Lee.
Q: What prompted you to write this book?
AKML: In 2009, a publisher (that was on my dream list of publishers) contacted me to explore the possibility of entering into a book contract about how the Internet has impacted women’s creativity. Thrilled and excited, I entered into a round of discussions with the publisher. She introduced me to two writing mentors who helped me flush out my ideas for a book outline. I shared the Sisterhood the Blog book outline with her and launched a blog, Facebook group, and Twitter account to begin writing the book. A few weeks later, the publisher lost interest. I tried several times to follow up, but did not receive a response. Devastated is the best word to describe how I felt.
My writing mentors encouraged me to write and self-publish the book. So I dived deep into my new blog and distributed its content on my social media sites. A few months later, I added a podcast to the mix. Through my blog, podcast, and social media sites, I was able to interview and profile a diverse group of women in social media and technology. When I attended local and national conferences, events, and meet ups, I used my video camera and audio podcast app to record my interviews. These efforts expanded my understanding of the roles women play in the digital space.
My focus for the book changed after I attended the BlogHer annual conference’s closing keynote, “How to Use Your Voice, Your Platform and Your Power,” featuring PBS anchor Alison Stewart, White House Project founder Marie Wilson, author and activist Gloria Feldt, and journalist and environmentalist P. Simran Sethi, in 2010. Listening to these women’s stories convinced me to write a memoir about my online journey and how women have influenced, informed, and inspired my digital experiences.
That same year, I changed the title of the book, blog, podcast, and social media to Digital Sisterhood after I conducted a series of interviews with women bloggers about their relationships with women in social media at the Blogalicious Weekend Conference.
Q: Who did you write this book for?
AKML: I wrote the book for women between the ages of 18 to 76 who spend time in the digital space blogging, building community, chatting, coding, creating webisodes and videos, crowdfunding, developing mobile apps, engaging in commerce, giving back by supporting social good campaigns, hosting online events, liking on Facebook, mentoring, pinning on Pinterest, podcasting, posting photos on Flickr and Instagram, reading blogs, publishing books, running businesses, serving as social media leaders, sharing information, teaching, tweeting 140 characters or less on Twitter, watching videos, and visiting web sites. I also wrote the book for women and girls who need greater access to technology and training.
Q: What do you want readers to gain from this book?
AKML: I want my readers to take what they find useful in the book and use it in a positive way. I hope my women readers are inspired to explore, celebrate, share, and publish their own stories about being online and the Digital Sisterhood connections they have made with other women. I hope they will publish their stories on blogs and in books. I want more women to write and publish books about their online lives, businesses, social good campaigns, and thought leadership.
Q: Did you use any research data to identify your niche audience?
AKML: I used BlogHer’s Social Media Matters Study which reported that 87 million women between the ages of 18 to 76 were online in 2011. The BlogHer study also reported that 69 million women used social media weekly, 80 million women used social media monthly, and 55 million women read blogs monthly. When I read this data, I realized these women have created a powerful digital footprint as communicators, connectors, community builders, tech creators, early adopters, and influencers.
Q: Tell us about your journey in embracing the Internet. How did your digital footprint begin?
AKML: My digital footprint began when I logged onto the LexisNexis research service as a first-year law student at Howard University School of Law in August 1986. It marked the beginning of my Internet geek path. My Internet experiences have been greatly influenced by the social connections women have made online and offline. Through them, I have witnessed the growth and expansion of women’s presence and power on the World Wide Web. Women are making digital herstory with blogs, books, businesses, careers, coding and software development projects, conferences, events, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, live streaming, meet up groups, mobile apps, online communities, online magazines, organizations, Pinterest, podcasts, Twitter, videos, webinars, web sites, and webisodes.
Q: What are your favorite social media tools?
AKML: That’s a hard one. I love so many. Right now, my favorites are all visual: Animoto, Flickr, Google+ Hangout, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
You’re invited to attend an author talk and book signing for my third book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online on Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery located at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, 1632 U Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. (three blocks from the Green Line U Street/Cardozo Metro Station). The book will be available for sale ($23.95) during the book signing. Click here to register on Eventbrite.
About the Book
Ananda Kiamsha Madelyn Leeke became a pioneer in the digital universe twenty-seven years ago, when she logged in to the LexisNexis research service as a first-year law student at Howard University School of Law. She was immediately smitten with what the World Wide Web could do. Later, while attending the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995, Leeke found herself in an Internet café, where she experienced an interaction that changed her life.
Over time, through interactions and conversations both online and in-person, Leeke developed the concept of “digital sisterhood.” Embracing this revolutionary concept led to a complete career reinvention that finally allowed her to embrace her enormous creative spirit. She found in her digital sisters true “sheroes” and virtual mentors. Her blogging and social media adventures highlight the lessons she learned in the process, the reasons she launched the Digital Sisterhood Network, and the experiences that caused her to adopt what she terms the “fierce living” commitments.
In her memoir, Digital Sisterhood, Leeke details her journey, sharing experiences and insights helped her and her digital sisters use the Internet as a self-discovery tool and identifying leadership archetypes that shaped her role as a social media leader.
11 Things You Can Do Before October 19th Book Reading
If you are in the D.C. area, register yourself and invite five friends to the October 19th book reading.
Share this notice on your social media networks or blog.
I’ve got some great news to kick off this new month. Last week, I submitted the final manuscript for my book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online to my publisher. See a description of the book below. The next steps include me reviewing the proofs (manuscript in book form) and approving the book cover design. My book should be available on Amazon.com in early October (paperback and Kindle). So get ready for a great autumn read!
Book Description: Digital Sisterhood provides insight and inspiration for any woman seeking to celebrate, express, or reinvent how the Internet, social media, and technology impact her life. Ananda Kiamsha Madelyn Leeke became a pioneer in the digital space when she first logged into the LexisNexis research service as a first-year law student at Howard University School of Law 27 years ago. She was immediately smitten with what the World Wide Web could do and in this compelling memoir, we follow her on her journey as she finds herself in an Internet café in Beijing, China and has an interaction that changes her life.
Leeke begins to embrace and define the concept of “digital sisterhood” and through interactions and conversations both on-line and in-person, she embraces a complete career reinvention (spoiler alert, she leaves the legal field) and finally embraces her enormous creative spirit. We get to know the digital sisters in her life as true sheroes and virtual mentors. Their experiences and insights helped her use the Internet as a self-discovery tool and identify leadership archetypes that shaped her role as a social media leader.
Her blogging and social media adventures will highlight the lessons she learned while tapping into the power of her leadership archetypes, the reasons she launched the Digital Sisterhood Network, and the experiences that caused her to adopt what she terms the “fierce living” commitments. At the end of each chapter, you’ll have an opportunity to explore aspects of your own Digital Sisterhood journey through a series of interactive exercises.
In honor of this major accomplishment, I thought I would share a photo of artwork that appears on the book cover. Dariela Cruz, an amazing graphic designer and co-founder of Dari Design Studio, and I worked together on the design concept. Dariela created the final product. I think she did a fabulous job. What do you think?
Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my writing journey. I am deeply grateful for your positive energy and prayers.