By now, you've surely heard of or read at least one post by Luvvie. She is the unapologetic digital strategist who has used technology as a way to thread together her professional work with her personal beliefs. As a native digital user, Luvvie has used social media as a platform for not only exposing the world to her thoughts and hilarious commentary on pop culture but also as a way to increase education and awareness around HIV/AIDS for women and girls. As EmpowerHer quickly approaches, we got a chance to discuss with her the power of social media, brand consistency and her upcoming book release. Check out what she had to say below:

The power of technology connectivity

"I started blogging in college because of peer pressure. My first blog wasn't really that good. It was all about my boring college life and I deleted that when I graduated in 2006. That's when I started what became Awesomely Luvvie. I was an early adopter of several social media platforms. I've been on Facebook since July of 2004 and it was started in February of 2004. I've also been on Twitter since September of 2008. After college, I worked with nonprofits and typically was the person who would introduce their organization to social media, which sparked my work as a Digital Media Strategist

I was born and raised in Nigeria, and we moved here when I was 9 years old (1994). In 2007, I got a Facebook message from someone who said my name sounds like the name of her first best friend. She was right! I connected with someone that I had not seen in 17 years on Facebook, and I realized that it was a really powerful tool. It made me understand that we are all a part of this larger network of people everywhere. People you may not know and may have never met, but you can still talk to them about their lives and talk about things that are important."

How to deal with internet trolls

"I tell people not to apologize for creating the space they need online. I moderate my space and it minimizes trolls. At the end of the day, people will still find a way to hate. However, taking in criticism is different than allowing trolls in. If it's coming from a troll, then delete and block. If it's constructive criticism, still know when to engage in the back and forth dialogue and when to stop. You also have to understand who is worth accepting criticism from."
EmpowerHer speaker Luvvie
Photo: Giphy

On growing a brand and creating a community around it

"I did it organically. I've never been one to do a lot of ads. People have heard my voice and it either spoke for or to them. They, in turn, became evangelists of my work. One person would read something I wrote and then share it, then that person would share it. So it was organic growth. I created an online version that was authentic to who I am in real life and have been unapologetic in who I am."

On finding and defining your voice

"Knowing your core values are important. Knowing what you hold dear, what you will fight for, and who you are important to, That makes a difference in this voice of yours. Your voice online needs to be who you are. People have told me that when they read my work, they hear my voice."
EmpowerHer speaker Luvvie
Photo: Giphy

Personal versus private social media accounts

"I caution people against personal versus private spaces online because it gives a false sense of safety when it comes to the type of content they post online. Now more than ever, people Google you in order to figure out who you are in totality. You have to operate as if anybody can see anything on social media no matter what the privacy settings are. When I think about it like that, it helps me to govern myself accordingly. Know what your boundaries are and maintain common sense."

On her defining moment

"I didn't have that moment. There was no light bulb that said 'now is the right time to step out on your own.' That moment doesn't come that often for a lot of people because it's scary. There's more safety and security in a full-time job than there is in venturing out on your own. I was laid off my last full-time job in April of 2010. I was restless but still wouldn't have quit because I liked the regularity of getting a paycheck every two weeks. So I was pushed to take that leap with that layoff. Even after that, I didn't think to doubtlessly start working for myself. The process of becoming a self-sustaining entrepreneur is rough and there will be times when you're like “Is this the right thing for me to do?” I used to check LinkedIn and say 'Maybe I should just get a full-time job.' Every time I would do that, another project would drop in my lap. It was as if the universe was like 'Pay attention. Work for yourself.' I don't want to trick people into thinking that perfect moment will come. You will never feel like it's the right time. It's just a matter of chugging through it when all else is pointing to the idea of you working for yourself."

On being an author and her upcoming book release

"It's still kinda unreal and I still have moments when I’m like 'Whoa, I wrote a book!' On September 13, 2016, when this book drops, I will be yelling 'I’M AN AUTHOR' from every rooftop until I get kicked out. People think because you're a blogger, that half your blog will be your book. Mine is all new information and essays. It basically turns a mirror on all of us, talking about life, culture, social media and fame. It’s called I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do Better Manual, and if you love my blog, then you will LOVE my book. In the book, I talk about why we all are ridiculous and why we all need to do better, which is how the tagline came to be. It goes from funny to serious, but of course, ya’ll know when I’m being serious I'm still being foolish. It stays true to my voice. I’m so excited to have folks read it because I’m incredibly proud of it. SO PLEASE PRE-ORDER IT! Awesome is just one word to describe this dynamic woman. If you're interested in more information about her or want to participate in her HIV/AIDS awareness project for women and girls, check out The Red Pump Project. Also, check out her blogs Awesomely Luvvie and Awesomely Techie. Last but not least, make sure you preorder her book I'm Judging You (which is available everywhere books are sold) and register to hear her talk at EmpowerHer 2016!

Photo: Giphy

On Saturday, May 21st, we’re hosting our inaugural conference about how creativity and technology are changing our daily lives, from our hobbies to our work. Will you be joining us? Tickets here. Use code blavityfam.

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