note to self...

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...must become widely-sought-after speaker RSN, so as to garner invitations (read: waived registration fees) to events like ETCON, SuperNova, and Pop!Tech.

An assistant professor's salary doesn't cover these kinds of events, alas.

Our department has been wonderfully generous on travel, which is how I've managed to get to Pop!Tech for the past two years. But budgets are shrinking--not just at home, but also at work--and I suspect the glory days where we could send seven faculty members to Camden are already over.

Do you suppose I could play the gender card to get myself in some of these doors? (She said, reading through yet another description of an all-male panel at a cool conference...) Nah, probably not. Meg's on enough of the marquees to negate that approach. :-)

Damn. Guess I'll have to keep using real-time conference blogs for vicarious attendance.

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Elizabeth Lawley @ RPI? from touching the web, by Aneel on April 11, 2003 11:00 AM

'm thinking of testing the waters to see if it's viable. we've got the right slice of kids for the bloghood-related topics and exploration. a cross-boundary group of CompSci, CogSci, and IT geeks is what I have in mind. Read More


Well, that panel was moderated by a woman (Mena Trott), but do make sure to do more appearances. Every conference I've been at has been a total boy's club. It wouldn't be playing the gender card, it'd be a legitimate attempt at broadening the audience and appeal of this medium...

One of the things that I think people radically underestimate is how much of blogging's amazingly rapid growth in popularity has been due to the fact that we've had women participating in the creation of the tools and the medium itself right from the start. Compared to other technological advancements that were much more solely created and promoted by men, blogging's had a tremendous advantage due to the diversity of its participants.

From your fingers to the conference organizers' eyes, Anil. :-) (Taking slight liberties in updating an old phrase.)

I'm glad to know Mena was there!

And I think you're right, though I hadn't really considered it much before. The fact that women have been so intimately involved with the development of these tools is unique, and probably does have quite a bit to do with the speed and breadth of this technology's adoption.

We could always logroll a few credits, Liz. I could invite you to be the Keynote speaker at the rollout of the Disseminary, and you could invite me to be the keynote speaker at some function related to your recent grant. With enough of these credits spread around, maybe we cna create the illsion of scarcity and desirability. . . .

Well, if the microcontent/blogresearch grant hits, that could take care of the problem entirely. I could run the damn conferences, rather than lust after them from afar. :-)

That failing, I think you're on to something. (Shhhh. Don't tell anyone else, though. It'll be our secret. They'll never guess that we're trying to manipulate the system. :-)

Interesting comment. This never occurred to me but is obvious in hindsight. Many of the blogs I discovered in my initial trips through the 'sphere were written by women. Many of the blogs I discovered initially were also filled with content that caused me to never want to look at them again. I don't recall that being weighted to one gender or the other, but it did cause me to sort of overlook the impact those early women authors might be having on the technology and its spread. There can be little doubt they were a key driver in the development and public acceptance of the tools.

Is this the first time women have been so involved, on so large a scale, in the early deployment of a computer technology?

As to why women have taken to blogging more quickly than other aspects of technology, I think it may be more basic than Anil. Blogging is, at it's core, a communication medium. I think the desire to communicate our lives, thoughts and experiences is a Universal idea, regardless of who we're expressing it to.

Blogging helps make us feel somewhat less alone with our daily thoughts, more connected to a community of readers and writers and that our thoughts and feelings have worth.

Why wouldn't anyone, regardless of gender, naturally gravitate towards something that fosters that?

Interesting thought, Anil -- I'm not sure I buy it completely, though. But even if true, there needs to be a more subtle argument made lest we overlook women's significant contributions to computing, historically. (See Yale's page on notable women of computing, for example, at:

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