Happy Ada Lovelace Day: Recognizing Geek Girl Bloggers

As I mentioned in my last post, March 24th is Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to celebrate women in science and technology.

Ada Lovelace is credited as being the world's first computer programmer. A kick-ass girl of her own right, she is recognized as a brilliant mathematical mind and a bit of a fashionista. Kind of like Coder Barbie, only with corsets. Oh and she built her own computing machine.

It's amazing to think that it's taken us a couple of centuries, but we girls are making our mark on the tech world. We're coding, leading high tech companies, engaged in social media, blogging... you name it, we're there.

It still feels though that we're in need of some recognition and promotion, which is why a reminder like Ada Lovelace Day is useful to let people (especially our next generation of geek girls) know that there is a place for us girl geeks in science and tech.

Recently, Margaret Wente stirred up whole lot of controversy by espousing a bunch of reasons why only boys blog. [See my take on Wente for more.]

Not only was her article offensive, but her opinion was completely unfounded. It did however represent a perspective that we might like to pretend no longer exists, that we can easily -dangerously - ignore. It's so easy for us to become so entrenched in our own work and in the online world, that we might forget there's an entire part of the population that is either offline or unaware of our presence online, and who may be significantly influenced by the media's portrayal of our place in tech.

The Wente backlash was fought by girl bloggers of all kinds, however the majority of play in the mass media was for so-called "Mommy Bloggers". This community of parents blogging about their families, child rearing, education and other family-related topics is a force to be reckoned with. There are a lot of misconceptions about this community but don't underestimate them: They are influential and eloquent. They are numerous.

Unfortunately, as a result of their numbers and subsequent loud voice, they also tend to get the most attention when it comes to profiling the female blogger. And all of the recent media coverage of women's role in blogging reminds me of the outdated perceptions of women in the workplace or in the home. Looking at the media coverage, we're still apparently working in the kitchen, minding the kids, and bitching about it over coffee (and our computers).

I love my mommy bloggers. I follow lots of them, chat with them frequently on Twitter and have nothing but respect for their writing and opinions.

But there are so many geek girl bloggers out there, we need our props too. People always assume that because I have a child, I must be blogging about domestic life. They usually give me a quizzical look when I try to explain that I blog about "geeky things" like the Interwebs, gadgets, green tech, design, etc. It often appears to me that it never occurred to them that I would blog about trends instead of personal storytelling. I find it frustrating when I get that reaction from boy bloggers but I think it bothers me even more when I get it from other femme bloggers.

I find it odd (and frustrating) that we've been able to make our mark in so many areas of science and tech, but we have to break barriers and change perceptions every time we venture into uncharted territory. There are fantastic girl geeks sharing their thoughts in the blogosphere and on Twitter (search for #geekgirl, #girlgeek, #geekgirls, #girlgeeks, #women2follow). Note to girl geek tweeps: we really should standardize our hashtags ;P

If you're a girl geek blogger, do you think my experience is unique? Do you agree? Disagree? Please leave a comment! And if you know of any great lists of women bloggers or tweeps, please add in the comments section!


Popular posts from this blog

Designing the team experience: Building culture through onboarding (Slides from PPPConf, Chicago 2018)

UX Theatre: Are You Just Acting Like You're Doing User-Centered Design?

The Unstuck Meeting: A safe failure space