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.
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
Happy #InternetGeek Tuesday!
#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.
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.
- Creativity through a book blogging effort that produced my creative memoir, That Which Awakens Me.
- Women in social media which inspired a book blogging effort for my technology memoir that gave birth to the Digital Sisterhood Network, Digital Sisterhood Radio, and Digital Sisterhood Month.
- 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.
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.
- Blogging for Obama Session
- Favorite Press Publish Conference Moments
- Press Publish Blogging Wisdom from Sessions I Did Not Attend
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.
- Celebrate Digital Citizenship Month in July with a strong push to get more Americans involved in digital civic engagement.
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.
Safe travels to DC! Enjoy the cherry blossoms!
Photo Credit: Dave McCulloch
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.
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.
Happy Internet Geek Tuesday!
It’s been a week since my State of the Union Social (#SOTUSocial) experience at the White House. I’ve been focused on:
- Publishing my #SOTUSocial blog recaps.
- Building community with my fellow #SOTUSocial leaders by reading their blogs and social media posts, and sharing them with my network.
- Identifying ways to deepen my social engagement with the White House.
- Promoting the importance of digital citizenship.
January 29: The day after the event, I reached out to my fellow social media leaders on LinkedIn. As a result, I received an invitation to meet up with Jason Nellis, OverAchiever Media founder and a DC social media leader I missed meeting at the White House. We agreed to meet in person the following week to discuss our #SOTUSocial experiences.
I also gave my #SOTUSocial digital sisters a special #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday shout out on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter that featured a collage of several women I met during the event.
January 30: The next day I wrote my first blog recap post about being a digital citizen and my journey to the White House, and recorded a podcast that discussed my definition of a digital citizen. I shared the blog post with my social media network and retweeted, shared, and commented on blogs, photos, and tweets by my fellow social media leaders.
I updated my #SOTUSocial Pinterest board with links to the social media leaders’ articles, blogs, and photos. I also visited WhiteHouse.gov and found blog posts and videos to add to the Pinterest board.
January 31: After visiting WhiteHouse.gov, I decided to deepen my social engagement with the White House by participating in President Obama’s Virtual Road Trip via Google Hangout. Click here to listen to my podcast about the event.
I explored the WhiteHouse.gov blog to see if there were any ways I could deepen my social engagement this week. Guess what I found? A notice inviting social media leaders to apply to attend the White House French Arrival Ceremony Social (#WHSocial) on February 11. Since I am a Francophile (have been since my first French class in high school) and a digital diplomacy fan, I applied. You can too. The deadline is February 5 at 6:00 p.m. EST. Click here for details.
I also wrote a Tumblr blog post about my passion for France and desire to participate in the February 11th #WHSocial where President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will welcome French President François Hollande to the White House.
What’s Next: This week, I’ll be writing blog posts celebrating the dynamic women I met (for Digital Sisterhood Network’s blog), featuring the #SOTUChat highlights, and lessons I learned from the #SOTUSocial.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be using my Internet Geek Tuesday blog series to share more about the White House’s social engagement activities.
How are you building community with your digital network?
How are you deepening your social engagement?
Did you watch President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on January 28?
Did you participate in any State of the Union online activities such as the #SOTUSocial and #SOTUChat?
How did it feel to participate?
Click here to listen to my podcast (5 minutes) that highlights my participation in the State of the Union Social and how it reminded me of the importance of being a digital citizen, a concept I discussed during my talk on digital citizenship, digital sisterhood, and social media leadership at Spelman College’s Women Interactive Conference held in November 2013.
My Definition of Digital Citizen
A digital citizen is a person who uses her or his digital presence to mindfully share information and inspiration. Mindful sharing is thinking before you share your thoughts online and asking yourself if what you are planning to share will be helpful to others.
What is your definition of a digital citizen?
How are you planning to demonstrate your digital citizenship in 2014?
My Journey to the White House
I applied to participate in the State of the Union Social (#SOTUSocial) a few weeks ago. On January 20, I received an email from the White House indicating that I had been selected 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 my digital citizenship!
Click here to read my blog about my #SOTUSocial Group Tour to the White House (includes photos).
PS: I visited the White House as a part of the Blogging While Brown Conference Delegation of bloggers of color in 2010. I’m the lady in red in the front row!
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!
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.
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).
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.