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Katie Couric, BlogHer, Sheryl Sandberg: Women Social Media Leaders That Rock

The recent episode of the “Katie Show” helped Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and her company celebrate a major milestone, 1 Billion global users. Many of those users are my family members. As Mark Zuckerberg expressed in a blog post this month, We believe that the need to open up and connect is what makes us human. It’s what brings us together. It’s what brings meaning to our lives“.  Facebook has offered me exactly that, a place where my family and friends connect. All online social networks face privacy issues (I will be talking about that more in another post). With Facebook, I am happy there is a place where all of my family and friends have profiles and I can keep up with their latest antics no matter how busy their or my life may become.


In addition to Facebook enabling me to stay connected to family and friends, I also enjoy seeing COO Sheryl Sandberg showcased as a great role model for younger women pursuing tech careers. On the “Katie Show”, Cheryl was a clear symbol of female success in the high technology industry.


Here is my summary of some my favorite highlights from the “Katie Show” with Sheryl Sandberg:

  • Katie Couric asked if Facebook was worried about not being the “new thing”? Cheryl Sanderg said the initial fear was that Facebook started with only college students. Would they stay active users when mothers, grandmothers, and teachers joined? Everyone stayed because Facebook made it easy for them all to connect.
  • Katie asked how people use Facebook to discuss political campaigns? Cheryl  explained how conversations that used to happen around the “watercooler” now happen on Facebook (and the “watercooler”). There are 170 million Facebook users in the US which is greater than the number of people who will vote. Eighty percent of Facebook users are outside the U.S. and Canada, and people around the world use  Facebook in some common ways.
  • Katie then asked about the dark side of being connected, including spam and scams: do those things keep you up at night? Sandberg explained that every technology ever invented has positive and negative uses. The more powerful the technology, the more powerful the use.
  • Katie discussed an inspirational story about a daughter who posted a Facebook update sharing that her mother needed a new kidney.  A friend of a friend of the daughters saw this, knew she was right blood type and contacted the daughter to donate her kidney. The whole story was heartwarming, the mother got a new kidney and the daughter feels like she has a new “sister”, the generous women who donated her kidney. The full story is discussed in a post on the Katie Show site “A reason to connect and donate“.
  • Facebook business success stories were discussed with one women in the audience (Mandie from Got What it Cakes) sharing that after she joined Facebook and her friends started sharing, her business doubled and doubled again. Mandie explained that she is a proud mom conducting business in her kitchen and her Got What It Cakes Facebook page has 6200 fans (now over 7,000).


Talking about role models… Katie Couric has been my media role model for years. She not only wrote a New York Times best-selling book titled, “The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives“, but also is a dedicated cancer advocate. And she is one of the most successful anchors along with being a fellow working mom.  Her bio listed:

In September 2006, Katie Couric became the first female solo anchor of an evening news broadcast. Couric served as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric until May 2011… On May 31, 2006, Couric completed a 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC News’ TODAY show. In October 2011, the Wall Street Journal called Couric of the “most successful anchors ever” at the TODAY show. Couric joined the Disney/ABC Television Group in Summer 2011 and serves as special correspondent for ABC News….. Beginning in September 2012, she will host a new syndicated daytime talk show, Katie.”



What some may not know is that Katie Couric was one of the early news anchors to understand the value of social media and parent bloggers.  Around the time of BlogHer Business 2008, I was contacted by Katie Couric’s production team at “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric”. It was part of their social media outreach to promote the show. I was already such a big fan, not only because of  Katie’s trailblazing career in news, but also due to Katie’s intelligent, engaging, professional and inspirational presence on any show where she appeared. I had started a list titled, “TV women to learn from”, because I had a goal to film television Tech Segments. Later that year, as I started making TV appearances, I could not help but wonder how much of my own personal style in front of camera was developed by watching Katie.


The most exciting thing about the initial social media outreach from the Katie Couric team was that it led to a studio tour offered to me and a selection of mom bloggers in New York City for the BlogHer Business conference (2008). The BlogHer community, founded by inspiring female leaders Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins in 2005, is another social media powerhouse that has the largest community of women who blog.



I have to admit… part of why I chose Katie Couric as my role model back then was also due to her great fashion choices (including fantastic shoes!). To prepare for the studio tour, I got myself a  Katie Couric haircut (forget the Jennifer Aniston!) and a matching jacket.  Needless to say, when I finally met Katie Couric together with my mom blogger colleagues, she was as engaging in person as she was on television.  She was also very savvy about social media, asking insightful questions and sharing her perspective. And I just may need to submit that picture as a Katie Clone!


In August 2012, Katie Couric was the lunchtime Keynote at BlogHer12 in New York City and it was so great to see her on stage again (I was in the audience cheering her on)! Bringing the story full circle, a highlight of my 2012 BlogHer Conference was a brief meet and greet with Katie before she gave her Keynote lunch.  Although I did not qualify as a Katie clone this time, I did have a chance to tell her I was looking forward to watching her show when it debuted the following month.


I am happy that there are multiple other social media platforms I can use to interact with the Katie Show (back from my home in San Francisco area) including Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. There are great behind the scenes videos on YouTube and Google+.  During shows they have bloggers participating in many ways. Fellow tech mom Heidi Leder was not only in the audience for the Facebook show (which I was following via the #Katie Twitter Hashtag), but she also wrote a feature post on the website about how Facebook Keeps Her connected. I also feel lucky to have so many women social media leaders that have blazed the trails to offer ways for us all to connect offline and online.


What are your favorite ways to connect online?



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