Happy Internet Geek Tuesday: #DigCitizen Profile of #WHSocial Alum Dr. Janet Johnson

Photo Credit: Dr. Janet Johnson
Photo Credit: Dr. Janet Johnson

Happy Internet Geek Tuesday!

Today I am sharing a Digital Citizenship (#DigCitizen) Project profile featuring Dr. Janet Johnson, a social media leader, I met while attending the White House Social (#WHSocial) for the State of the Union (#SOTUSocial) in January.

Meet Dr. Janet Johnson

1) Tell us who you are.

I am a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. I study social media and the political process. To learn more about me, visit my web site and blog. Connect with me on social media (see web sites below).

2) Why did you apply to participate in the #SOTUSocial?     

I applied to participate because I study social media and the political process. Also, my dissertation was about the 2008 campaign blogs.

3) Share one to five key moments you experienced while participating in the #SOTUSocial.   

  •  I was standing in line for the U.S. Capitol tour the day before the #SOTUSocial and a young woman recognized me from Twitter. She was also attending the #SOTUSocial.
  • I was sniffed by the First Family’s dogs Bo and Sunny. Right place, right time.
  • Meeting Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer.
  • Asking a question during the #SOTUChat.

4) What social media tools did you use to support your participation in the #SOTUSocial?    

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

5) After the #SOTUSocial, did you write or participate in any follow-up interviews for a blog, magazine, newspaper, radio station, or television station?

My university promoted my attendance to the #SOTUSocial. Click here to read article. I was also interviewed by WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas. They did a Skype interview about my experience.

6) Did you learn any lessons while participating in the #SOTUSocial?

  • The White House is very strategic.
  • The White House does not control the citizen’s messages.
  • Everyone at the White House was very nice and shared a lot of information about their jobs.

7) What does digital citizenship mean to you?

No matter what political affiliation you are, you can participate and do it civilly. People tend to react instead of discuss issues over social media. We need to learn to listen and think before we type a message. Nothing will change if we are not forming effective messages that will actually help others understand our position. Civility is the key.

8) How are you planning to stay engaged as a digital citizen?             

I am always engaged and monitoring social media and politics. I am writing a research article about the #SOTUSocial. I am also going to apply for more White House Socials. I feel as if it’s a great opportunity to learn how the White House functions and how government works. It’s fascinating!
9) Share several ways Americans can use their digital presence and online network to engage civically on a local, state, and/or national level. 
People can easily get involved. They can use hashtags of organizations, candidates or issues that they feel passionate about. Teach and learn through social media. Just don’t react and attack. Be a proactive citizen that contributes to the conversation–not stop it.

#DigitalSisterhood + Digital Citizenship = #IWOC #StateMeetup Application

State of the Union Social Collage
State of the Union Social Collage
Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Digital Sisters!

Today, my Digital Sister Janet Johnson sent me a Facebook email about the U.S. Department of State’s application for social media leaders to attend the International Women of Courage #StateMeetup on March 4 in Washington, DC. I met Janet while attending the White House State of the Union Social in January (see photo above where Janet is wearing a red sweater). Through several conversations, we discovered we share a passion for digital citizenship. I am deeply grateful to her for sharing the #StateMeetup information. Her act of sharing represents #DigitalSisterhood and the power of promoting Digital Citizenship (#digcitizen)!!!!

#StateMeetup Application
#StateMeetup Application

About #StateMeetups

#StateMeetups were created to expand the Department of State’s engagement efforts by inviting social media leaders to attend in-person meetings and engage with the Department through Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and other social media channels.
About the International Women of Courage (IWOC) #StateMeetup
The IWOC Awards was created in 2007 to honor women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights and women’s equality. While in the United States, awardees participate in the International Visitors Leadership exchange program where they get to meet with their U.S. counterparts and leaders.
Social media leaders will attend the IWOC Award Ceremony, hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry with special guest First Lady Michelle Obama, at the Department of State on March. They will also participate in a policy briefing with a Department official about international women’s issues. I encourage you to apply to participate in the #StateMeetup. Visit www.state.gov/social for more information. The deadline is February 26 (today) at 5:00 p.m. EST.
Photo Credit: UN.org
Photo Credit: UN.org

My #IWOC #StateMeetup Application

My passion for women’s rights is the reason I applied for the #IWOC #StateMeetup. Click here to listen to my podcast about my application. My passion was ignited during my participation in the United Nations (UN) Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995. Listening to former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” speech at the UN Conference on Women greatly influenced my passion. I have included an excerpt from my book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online, below that describes the impact of my participation and Clinton’s speech.
Excerpt from Chapter Four: A Game Changer: Beijing Women’s Conference
One of the benefits of following my heart and living my life passionately in Beijing was meeting women from all over the world. During the NGO Forum’s opening ceremony, I sat with a group of women from Brazil, India, Kenya, Korea, the Netherlands, Russia, Senegal, and Zimbabwe. As the ceremony ended, we stood together and sang Pat Humphies song, “Keep on Moving Forward.” Five lines from that song became my mantra and helped me fully embrace my conference experience as a series of life-changing adventures.
“Gonna keep on walking forward
Keep on walking forward
Keep on walking forward
Never turning back
Never turning back”
One of those life-changing adventures happened when I heard former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton give her famous “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” speech which included the following remarks:
“Those of us who have the opportunity to be here have the responsibility to speak for those who could not.
We need to understand that there is no formula for how women should lead their lives. That’s why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family. If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, it is that human rights – and women’s rights are human rights. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely – and the right to be heard.”
Clinton’s words echoed what was in my heart, gave me a clearer understanding of why I was in Beijing, and helped shape my digital path. They came to life when I visited a conference art exhibit organized by the Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA), a national member organization of multidisciplinary and multicultural artists, art historians, students, educators, and museum professionals. While I was there, I struck up a conversation with several WCA artists who were overseeing the exhibit. We talked about WCA’s role as a NGO and founding member of the Feminist Art Project, the conference, their careers, and my life as a budding artist. Before we parted, they gave me their business cards and encouraged me to visit the WCA web site and join the D.C. Chapter.    
Walking with Sharon into the NGO Forum’s Internet Café was another life changing adventure. It marked the first time I saw a diverse group of women sitting at computers. My face lit up with a smile as I realized how powerful women could be with Internet access. They were free to speak their minds, discuss their concerns, share information, build community, create web sites and coalitions to address their concerns, and launch advocacy campaigns that defied geographical boundaries. They were demonstrating what Clinton said in her speech: “Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely – and the right to be heard.”