SXSW is a wide ranging conference that always throws up interesting happenings. Last year it was the audience taking over a boring session and people stripping off articles of clothing on pre-selected keywords, puzzling the speakers. This year I loved the ‘tech moms forum’. While it was guys like Berners Lee, Bezos, Wales, Gutenburg, Torvalds, Page, Brin, Hurley and Chen who created this wonderful technical habitat, it’s women who are starting to inhabit and humanise the environment.
In the US women buy around $90 billion in technology and influence 61% of all purchases. But the real action is on the social side, where mothers are creating their own websites, blogging, Facebooking and generally getting agitating to get things done. Self publishing has enfranchised this group, freeing mothers from the sometimes limiting confines of the home.
Advertisers, knowing that women are the power brokers on buying, have flocked to these sites. Heather Armstrong’s blog Dooce has a staggering 850,000 readers, and makes a living from her banner ads. Comscore states that sites targeted at women grew by 35% last year, second only to politics. Sex sells, and Tancer’s data in his book Click suggests that we spend 6.5 minutes on average on a porn site, with Friday night being the peak viewing time and a surprising 27.4% of visitors are women, especially pornographic fiction sites. BlogHer, a collection of 2,200 blogs by and for women has attracted significant venture capital.
Women are half the population but may end up contributing a great deal more than men in social networking, as they tend to communicate, enliven and engage in honest dialogue in a more open fashion. It’s less ‘what the hell’ and more ‘what-if’. But let’s not simplify this, as there’s a wide range of women groups online. Techmamas is a nice example of a hardcore tech mom who really does love the ‘tech’. Women 2.0 tends to be women in business and so on. What I’ve noticed, however, as I drifted through these sites, is the lightness of touch and lack of rancour. I’ll stop there as I feel a BUT coming on......
I was ranting that education does not protect, but I was wrong. It helped me speak my mind and sort out the chaos there. It helped me see that I was not alone and my stand to not retaliate and break bones was not weakness but a subtle protest.
It is not that I can't hit back. It is my concern that if I do so it can lead to fatal injuries that restrained me. I did feel stupid at that time but now I feel it was a better judgment to not give in to rage.
You speak of techmamas, what about techpapas, do we have that category too? I feel connecting with other humans somehow fills the gaps that we have, here in the cyber space, distances vanish and the adding on to one's skills, emotional needs and knowledge is at the speed of light compared to what we glean off out immediate three dimensional surroundings. So many things we forget are reinforced and so there is growth and in my case rapid healing when issues erupt in life.
Thanks for such lovely posts. They engage the mind in better and productive things. Am reading 'Lust for Life' by Irving Stone, it's the life story of Van Gogh and it's awesome.And yeah next time she hits am gonna punch! lol Box the daylights out. Venting out eh!
Sheesh! If you haven't seen any rancour, you obviously haven't seen some of the sites I visit. I belong to one 'techmamas' type group where there is a blistering fight going on. Lots of bitchiness.
I have no time for that kind of nonsense, since it moves nothing forward. I am seriously considering leaving the group. I'm not really in favour of women-only groups, anyway, since they seem to imply that we can't hack it on a level playing field. Developing on what Rina has commented, there would be uproar if there were to be a men-only group!
But in general, I dislike ugliness in debates. I feel it does none of us any favours. For me, it is still possible to disagree strongly with another person's view, while remaining respectful of the person and the trouble they have taken to share that view.
I have disagreed often with some of the biggest names in this business (including you!), yet I continue to enjoy a positive relationship with the individuals. I have no desire to sully that with 'rancour'.
..and I thought SXSW was just all about great music. I must be out-of-touch :)
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