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.
Great news! On May 2, I’m speaking about digital citizenship at the Blogger Week Unconference that will be held at Impact Hub, 419 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC. My “Embracing Your Digital Citizenship” session will begin at 4:30 p.m. During the 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 Jason Goldman’s #socialcivics.
#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.
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 Onein 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 Weekend.
L – 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:
Social good initiatives like Macy’s Heart of Haiti Campaign. I became a Macy’s Heart of Haiti Campaign blogger ambassador in 2010 after learning about it during the Blogalicious Conference. A year later, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Fairwinds Trading, and Macy’s selected me to travel to Haiti. In 2012, I started working as an AARP blogger ambassador on caregiving issues and long-term care planning for women.
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.
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.
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.
Congratulations Jason on your new position as the first White House Chief Digital Officer!
When I read your Medium post, I became excited because your intention to create more meaningful online engagement between government and American citizens is headed in the right direction. The question you posed to the American public was AWESOME: How can we — our government and you and your communities — better connect online to make America better? It got me thinking about several ideas which is why I am writing this letter to you via my blog.
Before I get started, let me first say I am a huge fan of President Barack Obama and his amazing team of digital warriors in the Office of Digital Strategy. Through their efforts, I’ve been able to participate in several White House Social (#WHSocial) events that gave me a better understanding of the Obama administration’s priorities and an opportunity to share what I learned with my online community.
They also connected me to a more diverse group of fellow digital citizens and inspired me to create the Digital Citizenship Project and Digital Citizenship Month (July). Now that you know what drives my passion for POTUS and digital citizenship, let me offer the following #socialcivics ideas:
Since 2011, the White House has invited numerous social media leaders to participate in #WHSocial events and tweet ups. Reconnect with these individuals through a series of online and offline events that encourage them to serve as White House Social Media Ambassadors. They represent a pool of potential #socialcivics advocates who might be willing to share and discuss Obama administration policies and initiatives with their online communities.
My first visit to the White House occurred when a delegation of bloggers of color from the Blogging While Brown Conference visited with Corey Ealons, former Director of African American Media and Coordinator of Special Projects, in 2010. That visit gave us an opportunity to meet White House staff and discuss issues of concern relevant to communities of color. There are so many diverse blogging communities and conferences including Black Bloggers Connect, Blogalicious, Blogging While Brown, BlogHer, Latina Bloggers Connect, Latinos in Social Media, Mom 2.0 Summit, Niche Parent Network, and Women of Midlife (Bloggers at Midlife Conference). Connect with them and their communities by holding Google Hangout discussions, Twitter Town Halls, and offline events to discuss Obama administration policies and #socialcivics efforts.
Increase your outreach to digital citizens over 60. Many are using blogs and social media platforms to share their ideas. Invite them and their communities to participate in online and offline events. Make sure they are well represented at #WHSocial events. Their voices are important.
Create a #SocialCivics Roundtable (like the White House Council on Women and Girls) that brings together a diverse group of civic engagement advocates committed to expanding the Obama administration’s citizen engagement efforts. Have the Roundtable meet quarterly and provide ideas. They could meet online or offline.
That’s it for now! Once you get settled into your new office at the White Office, I’d love to meet you for lunch at Busboys and Poets in my neighborhood to discuss how I can best use my digital presence, projects, and community to further support your #socialcivics efforts.
Today I’m coming back from my summer social media break to share some great news. On July 1, I’ll be launching my next digital storytelling effort called Digital Citizenship Month. It’s fun and interactive. You’ll be able to participate in the My #DigCitizen Campaign. Click here for more information. on the link to learn more.
I’m a fifth-year student of Architecture at Pratt Institute. I’m graduating this month. I live in Brooklyn, New York and was raised just outside of Philadelphia in South Jersey. To stay updated on my social media adventures, follow me on Instagram and Twitter.
2) Why did you apply to participate in the #WHSocial?
I have always been a supporter of the President and have held an interest and passion for politics my whole life. As an architect and musician, I found the Arrival Ceremony to be a fascinating confluence of diplomacy, architecture, and theater.
3) Share the key moments you experienced while participating in the #WHSocial.
My key moments included:
Arriving early and seeing the preparations for the state arrival was particularly interesting to see. Every piece of the ceremony is so choreographed and rehearsed to perfection, it was fascinating to see what it took to put it together.
It was also a great thrill to go in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and meet with administration officials. I was struck by how those individuals we met with made real the administration’s commitment to transparency.
4) What social media tools did you use to support your participation in the #WHSocial?
I primarily used Instagram and Twitter, and shared some on Facebook to let family and friends in on the fun! I was impressed at how connected the #WHSocial group became after finding each other over Twitter through using the hashtag.
5) Did you learn any lessons while participating in the #WHSocial?
I learned, retrospectively, the importance of editing! I was too excited when I arrived at the White House and had a bit of a case of “overshare,” to the point that my phone battery couldn’t stand the cold and died before the ceremony concluded. I realized that even with live, in-the-moment broadcasting people are most interested in a concise, conclusive photograph or tweet rather than an overload of images with little meaning on their own.
6) What does digital citizenship mean to you?
Digital citizenship carries the duties of citizenship into an increasingly globalized world. It is a process of learning, keeping one’s self informed, but also sharing perspectives and ideas.
7) How are you planning to stay engaged as a digital citizen?
I plan to keep expanding the breadth of information I consume with the hopes being able to share more informed perspectives.
8) Share several ways Americans can use their digital presence and online network to engage civically on a local, state, and/or national level.
Especially in the U.S., our governments and leaders are increasingly present on social networks and are eager to engage with their constituents online. Americans can take advantage of this, and use these tools seriously to generate exciting and intelligent dialogue.