WH.gov blog recap of #ObamaTownHall with BlogHer and SheKnows

The White House blog published a great recap of President Obama’s Town Hall with BlogHer and SheKnows on April 15 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Click on the link to read it.


#DigitalSisterhood Wednesday: #DigitalSisterhoodat50 Lesson 6 VOICE

Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Digital Sisters!

VOICE is #DigitalSisterhoodat50 Lesson 6. I was reminded of the power of women’s voices online two times today. The first happened while reading reading a Medium blog written by the new White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman about what he has learned from #socialcivics.


I was excited to see Goldman had included several women’s voices in his post. Three women are connected to me through the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN): Janet Johnson, Patricia Patton, and yours truly. FYI DSN named Johnson and Patton as Digital Sisters of the Year. A few weeks ago, we used our blogs and digital presence to give voice to our #socialcivics ideas. Speaking up is something we can all do when we honor our voices.


This afternoon, I watched Lisa Stone, BlogHer co-founder, SheKnows Chief Community Officer, and Digital Sister of the Year, give voice to women’s issues while moderating the #ObamaTownHall with President Barack Obama. As I watched the event on WhiteHouse.gov, live tweeted, and read the tweets of other women, I witnessed firsthand what happens when women believe they have something to say — they give voice to their concerns with passion, encourage other women to speak up, and spark important conversations that can inform and influence society.

How are you using your voice?

Photo Credit: http://instagram.com/sheknows

#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.


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.

Happy #FierceLiving Friday: Meeting #FierceLiving Hero President Obama at Tumblr #WHSocial



Happy #FierceLiving Friday!

On June 10, I attended the White House Social (#WHSocial) featuring President Barack Obama’s first-ever Tumblr Q&A session on education, college affordability, and student loan debt reduction. I had a front row seat in the State Dining Room. Being able to see President Obama, one of my #FierceLiving heros, in action was a HUGE life moment for me. Click here to read about my favorite #WHSocial moments. Watch my Vine video too.


After the event, I was able to snap a selfie with the President, say hello, and shake his hand. What a lucky woman I am!

Check out photos from my #WHSocial adventures below.




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Happy Internet Geek Tuesday: Headed Back to White House for #WHSocial French Welcoming Ceremony


Happy Internet Geek Tuesday!

Great News! This morning, I’m headed back to the White House to attend the French Welcoming Ceremony for French President Francois Hollande.


During the Ceremony, President and Mrs. Obama will welcome President Hollande on the South Lawn. I’ll be there covering the event with an amazing group of social media leaders. Follow me as @anandaleeke on Instagram and Twitter and use the #whsocial hashtag to track the conversation and see photos between 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. EST. The Ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m.

I’ll also be participating in the #WHSocial panel discussion with White House officials from 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon at the Old Executive Office Building. The discussion will be live streamed on WhiteHouse.gov.

My White House Tour with #SOTUSocial Social Media Leaders


Greetings from the White House!

This morning, I joined my fellow State of the Union Social attendees for a White House tour. Each of us applied to participate in the State of the Union Social (#SOTUSocial) a few weeks ago. The White House selected us to serve as digital citizens and to use our online presence to develop and curate content, utilize the content to engage online communities, and live tweet at the #SOTUSocial (including the #SOTUChat panel discussion with White House officials and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez after President Obama’s address).

Guess what? Over 6,000 applicants applied to participate in the #SOTUSocial. Only 60 social media leaders were chosen to visit the White House and attend the #SOTUSocial. What an honor to demonstrate our digital citizenship through serving our country and communities with our digital presence!

Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov
Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

During the tour, we had a chance to get to know each other. I discovered we are a diverse group of fun, friendly, passionate, and smart social media influencers and professionals, college students, public policy professionals, and teachers. We represented cities like Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Denver, Colorado; Greensboro, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Seattle, Washington; and Washington,  D.C. Together, we looked and sounded like the America I love.



After the tour and many photos, we walked to Starbucks for an impromptu meet up. I am so glad we spent more time connecting, sharing our experiences, and discussing what we hoped President Obama would highlight in his address.


PS: I developed three digital resources (one Pinterest board and two Twitter lists) to prepare for President Obama’s State of the Union address. Click here to read more about them.

Since it was cold in DC today, I decided to wear what I call a “femme chic” winter warm outfit that came straight from my closet by way of Macy’s Petites (Alfani knit jacket, blouse, and pants).


#BlogforObama: Why I am Voting for President Obama

Ananda before voting on Election Day 2012 in DC

Happy Election Day!

Today, I thought I would share my reasons for voting for President Obama as a part of my work with the #BlogforObama community of women bloggers. I’ll start with a story about my 2012 election inspiration: my parents, Theresa and John Leeke. They are actively engaged over 70, cyber-citizens who use their social media platforms to do exactly what Morra Aarons-Mele wrote about in her recent Huffington Post article, “Each One Reach One; Social Media GOTV:

“Turns out, we can use our social media networks to influence friends and followers to vote.”

President Barack Obama

Their Facebook posts are passionately written to inform their families, friends, and colleagues about President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign. They also share information about the many ways Governor Romney has mispresented himself and his campaign. They post daily and weekly.

Dr. John Leeke (middle with t-shirt) volunteering at PG County, MD Obama campaign office

My father took his social media support for President Obama to a higher level when he started using his Twitter account and Tumblr blog to advocate on behalf of the Obama 2012 campaign. He also upped his on-the-ground volunteering game by traveling to Virginia several times to knock on doors with his fellow Prince George’s County, Maryland residents.

Dr. John Leeke leading a bus chat for Obama 2012 campaign effort in Virginia

When I was getting discouraged in June, my parents told me to invest 200 percent in the Obama 2012 campaign. So I jumped in with weekly blog posts, Facebook status updates, and tweets. I also volunteered for the D.C. Obama team and with my father at several local phone canvasing events in P.G. County, Maryland. My monthly Yoga for Obama fundraiser classes in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park gave me a chance to share my love of yoga and the Obama campaign. Contributing financially to the campaign via BarackObama.com helped me own a piece of the Obama 2012 rock. Seeing President Obama’s live web cast at BlogHer this summer was energizing. Joining the #BlogforObama community of women bloggers and live tweeting during the debates in September and October allowed me to add my support to the voices of women online.

Me and digital sister Tracey Friley at BlogHer’s live web cast with President Obama
Dr. John Leeke volunteering at PG County, MD Obama campaign office
Me volunteering at PG County Obama Campaign Office
#BlogforObama Campaign
Me canvasing for Obama 2012 campaign on U Street in DC

Today, I got up early and had my own personal Yoga for Obama yoga session at home before heading out to Starbucks for a hot chocolate and a 10-minute walk to my voting center. As I walked to the center, I thought about the many reasons I support President Obama.

President Obama at Barnard College
Obama Women for Healthcare
Obama buttons

Here’s a short list of the some of my reasons.

1) My President knows women’s rights are ESSENTIAL and IMPORTANT.

2) My President has been working since he entered the White House in 2009 to make America better with programs and funding that support education, healthcare, jobs, and the list goes on and on.

3) My President is committed to building a stronger economy.

4) My President supports military families and has ended the war in Iraq.

5) My President makes all of his administration’s policies and activities available online.

6) My President CARES about all Americans.

7) My President knows America must invest in her youth, education programs, job training programs, technology, and the list goes on and on.

Voting sign from DC
People in DC getting ready to vote today
Me smiling after I voted for President Obama this morning

What are your reasons for voting for President Obama?

How will you celebrate his victory today?

What are you going to do to support him in his next administration beginning on November 7?

UPDATE: SO HAPPY POTUS Obama won the election and has a second term.