The Girls Code panel that I was on went well. Kimberly Bryant from @blackgirlscode had to miss BlogHer because of a family emergency, but the other three of us forged ahead and we had a good discussion.
Automattic was in the Expo hall and it was fun to talk WordPress with them. Here I am with Automattic Happiness Engineer Karen Alma.
Sheryl Sandberg was a keynoter. She was inspiring! She arranged for Lean In circles to take place after the keynote with her there participating.
I got to meet Majora Carter and have a brief conversation with her. She’s someone who has done so much good in the world, someone I really admire.
Adria Richards brought Glass. She let lots of people try it on, play around with taking video or photos, learn how to scroll through the menus, and just generally see why Glass is cool.
She told me she brought her Glass to Chicago just for me to get to see it, and she did let me try it out several times. Thank you, Adria!
When a big event occurs, Twitter has become the go-to source for up to date information. I see two problems with relying on Twitter in such situations.
The Sensitivity Issue
There is always someone who feels obliged to monitor other people’s tweets for “sensitivity” to an event. Often someone will berate a tweeter for tweeting something that is unrelated to the hot topic of the day as if it was a social gaffe.
It’s as if a news event is the only thing anyone can be thinking about. Bombings, explosions, tornadoes, shootings, deaths, protests – yes, those things are important. There are people who hang on to TV news, read every tweet, and generally dwell for hours inside the drama during an event. And they tweet and retweet everything they see about the news of the day.
The problem is when they demand that everyone else do exactly the same thing.
A culture has grown around this phenomenon of single-mindedness during a breaking news event. That culture dictates that you shouldn’t show an interest in anything but the event or you will be branded insensitive, unaware, uncool, and out of touch. People respond to this social ostracism by shutting down scheduled tweets, keeping silent about whatever normal life they are living in deference to the news, and not tweeting except retweets of the day’s news.
I think this culture of “sensitivity” is a problem. Sometimes the news is so painful (for example, the Newtown shootings) that even thinking about it, much less obsessively tweeting and retweeting about it, is damaging to the soul. Tuning out and attending to normal life is a defense against the pain. People should be allowed to respond to horrific events this way, and should not be labeled idiots for tweeting about something unrelated. There’s no one right way to react to news.
The Misinformation Issue
It’s human to be interested in dramatic events. On Twitter, it’s human to retweet things that relate to an ongoing event.
We end up with a flood of tweets, many unverified and unchecked, that spread misinformation with the remarkable power of the retweet.
I’m not suggesting that people on the scene with real information should not tweet. I’m not suggesting that early reports such as “there was an explosion during the Boston Marathon” should not be retweeted. I am suggesting that retweeting everything without evaluating whether or not it is true is a problem.
Indiscriminate retweeting overwhelms people who are trying to sift out the truth from a flood of rumors, errors, and misinformation. Even worse, rumors and errors get picked up by major media – TV and radio news mention these things as if they were actual news. Granted, major media is acting no better that a Twitter user who retweets without vetting information in this situation. There may be thousands of tweets per second during big news events. Think of the manpower needed by a news organization or police department to sift through all those tweets trying to verify the truth, or find the right lead.
What I am suggesting is that concentrating exclusively on dramatic news events creates issues with an overwhelming flood of bad information among the valuable information.
If you don’t really know what’s going on, why retweet as if you do? Why not keep silent about the event instead? Why not (gasp) tweet about your normal life even in the midst of the media circus?
The Twitter culture of framing anyone who isn’t “sensitive” to the news as an idiot or a fool needs to stop. Judging others is akin to bullying and isn’t the business of the Twitter culture police.
Being a woman in the male-dominated business world does have its disadvantages, but a growing movement towards equality in all things is helping ladies in every professional niche to be both better and better-paid at what they do, and one of the fields most notable for this growth is blogging. Women are coming to dominate the blogosphere as visitors realize that they’re unique wit and wisdom offer a fantastic take on nearly any topic, making that sector one of the fastest growing for female entrepreneurs.
Meet women in your niche for the purpose of both friendship and professional development by checking out any of these four female blogging meetups for 2013:
If you’re a female blogger who will attend only a single industry event in 2013, the Blissdom Conference is an easy choice! Promising to be the premier destination for women on the web yet again this year, Blissdom will offer three days of speeches, panels, workshops, and the best networking opportunities that you’ll ever come across.
Besides its structure, Blissdom also provides an electric atmosphere of energy and creativity given the hundreds, or even thousands, of unique minds in attendance, giving you the opportunity to make alliances, gain inspiration, and learn new techniques in a setting that is fully conducive to making you better at what you do. No matter which aspects of the event you take advantage of, you’re guaranteed to leave refreshed, rebooted, and ready to tackle the web with renewed vigor!
When and Where: This year’s Blissdom Conference will take place at the Gaylord Texan hotel in Dallas, Texas, from March 21-23, 2013, bringing together ladies involved in a wide array of disciplines to share their blogging expertise.
Whether you’re a lone blogger or a burgeoning web guru, your business needs every edge it can get when it comes to taking over the internet and being truly successful, and what better way to learn the secrets of success than by hearing directly from women who have made it happen for themselves?
The 2013 Women Business Owners Conference will bring together ladies from a wide variety of businesses, online and offline, in order to allow each to share their stories in the interest of giving everyone in attendance a leg up on their competition. Jam-packed into a single day, this low-cost event presents a fantastic opportunity to take your business-savvy to a new level, helping you to tackle your blogging endeavors from a fresh perspective once you return to your desk.
When and Where: Take in this one-day event by heading over to the Anaheim Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, California on March 22, 2013.
Another of the premier industry events for female bloggers is the aptly named BlogHer conference, a gathering of women from every niche and every level of success that aims to help each to achieve new goals. You’ll take part in technical workshops and networking events, learning from some of the most prominent ladies in the business and allowing yourself to leave with a fresh mindset and new toolkit in the pursuit of your own personal success.
When and Where: If you needed an excuse to visit the exciting metropolis of Chicago, Illinois, now you’ve got it; BlogHer ’13 will take place in the Windy City from July 25-27, 2013.
Creativity is the name of the game at the Snap! Conference, with each aspect of the event helping to make you a better and more interesting blogger with its three days of dreaming, planning, and learning to implement. Instead of a rigid schedule alone, Snap! provides a place for bloggers to share their thoughts and ideas, inspiring one another all the while, and leading to each attendee becoming a more well-rounded and engaging writer.
When and Where: Visit the unique town of Salt Lake City, Utah, from April 18-20, 2013, in order to take part in this year’s Snap! Conference!
Writer Jessy Troy is the creativity blogger behind TekSocial.
The most important part is that we have eliminated all identifying details when we are evaluating the quality of your proposals. We won’t see your name, your company, or whether you have spoken before or are brand new to speaking.
This gives everyone an equal opportunity. Kudos to the team at CSSConf for doing it right.
Doing it Wrong
Mari Huertas worked on the Obama election tech team was just one of many women on the team, some of whom she names in not a beard. Yet when the media reported on this wonderous technology team who helped elect a President, women were absent from the story and hairy bearded men were emphasized.
Yet some articles skipped mentioning women almost entirely. Rolling Stone named one; Mother Jones listed zero before backpedaling under scrutiny and adding a handful at the bottom of the article.
Raspberries to the media for not recognizing who holds up half the sky.