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You Go Girl! On Anne 2.0 and being “brainist”

Last week an editor wrote that some of my comments in an article may come across as sexist.
 
I like to think I treat women with respect so I was a little surprised to be so called out. Are there more male geeks than female geeks? I reckon so. Is it sexism to say so, though?
 
I am a firm believer in human diversity, rather than a forced homogeneity.
I believe there are signficant cultural and genetic differences in human populations.
I don’t pander to lowest common denominator definitions.
 
Anyhow, after I dinged the writer Matt Broersma this morning, the editor relented. Thanks ZDNet. Good work mainstream media.
 
So what is up with my headline?  “You Go Girl” – see, I don’t believe the line is inherently sexist. It depends on context. I have recently come across the sterling work of Anne Zelenka, who goes by the blogmoniker Anne 2.0, cooking with gas, in post after post.
 
Anne asks how to monetise the blogger (disclaimer – 2 links to me, so I may be biased).
The key nodes in the read/write web are not newspaper websites or search engines or folksonomies or home pages of large corporations. The key nodes are individuals. It doesn’t mean we live in self-absorbed and isolated worlds of our own devisings–no, just the opposite. We expand our view and our knowledge by learning from other people’s individual experiences and skills. We participate in multiple communities and networks, yet always retaining our individual identities.

How do you monetize that though? That’s the question keeping venture capitalists and entrepreneurs and Google employees wide awake at night. Well, if the individual is at the center of it all, perhaps we are finally reaching the world that employment self-help books have been describing for as long as I’ve read them. That is, the world where individuals act as businesses unto themselves but flexibly combine their talents with other people and organizations on an ad hoc basis.
I like the idea of planetary attraction as a model for Web 2.0, which Anne talks to in Orbiting The Individual. How can you not like a metaphorist that helps with mental toothpicks, a comment worthy of Wittgenstein) How can you not respond to such a nice tweak on Web 2.0 definitions? [Note to Tim O’Reilly: Web 1.0 – change user behaviour, Web 2.0 – respond to user behaviour].
I don’t see RSS and social production as fundamentally disruptive, at least from the perspective of the individual. But the perspective of the individual is what Web 2.0 is all about. Saying that Web 2.0 is disruptive is akin to saying that Copernican theory was disruptive. Yes, you could call it disruptive and that wouldn’t be incorrect, but you’d be missing the bigger point: Copernican theory put the sun at the center of the universe, in its rightful place. In Web 2.0, elements of the web universe orbit the individual. Companies, websites, advertising, and software must accommodate the individual instead of the other way around.

Battelle’s got the idea of Web 2.0 disruption stuck in his teeth, so let me offer this toothpick. What’s disruptive to me, an individual, is to have to modify the way I think and feel and work to match the structure and requirements of other people, organizations, and hierarchies. In Web 2.0, companies and websites need to adjust to me. That’s not disruptive. That’s supportive.

Nailed. How about How To Shave The OPML Yak?

If Anne wants to tag herself a girl geek and play barbies with her beautiful five year old daughter that doesn’t diminish her as a person. On the contrary it makes Anne richer and more human. Its no sin to like the colour pink. To tell Anne the tags she chooses are wrong is nothing short of disrespectful, and to my mind distasteful. I won’t be calling Anne a “chick”, though. She already declared that a no no, which makes life easier for ongoing correspondence. [its not a term I use much anyway…]

I happen to like smart people. Apologies in advance for being brainist. Maybe I need to find some unintelligent people to link to, to even things out. Back over to Anne 2.0 to close out:

I want to be in the conversation. I love tech. I love new ideas. I love men. I love women too. I love being in conversation about new ideas with women and men.

 

 

 

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4 Responses

  1. Wow. Thanks. I was thinking my Copernicus reference and the comment about the toothpick went unnoticed! I finished the post and thought, “god that was pedantic.”

    “Cooking with gas.” I love that. Might have to print this out and frame it next to my first tech.memeorandum mention.

    As for more male than female geeks, probably so. But one thing that might be obscuring the reality is that women are less likely to portray themselves as such… like the woman you talked to about the mobile phone. Clearly she was geeky but she claimed not to be.

    When I first started blogging on Anne 2.0, I wrote about WordPress and how geeks loved it. A woman commented saying “I’m not a geek but I use WordPress” then talked about how she wanted to design a new look for her WP blog and customize its behavior, etc. etc. She was a geek but she didn’t think of herself that way.

    I’m so glad to be in conversation with you, James.

  2. hey anne- here is another planetary metaphor that i think ties to your own

  3. I like those planetary metaphors. Nice. I used to have a recording of Holst’s The Planets, but I don’t know how I came by it and I never knew it was actually derived from astrology (found that out from Google).

    Now I need to go read up on Wittgenstein. I can’t remember anything about that guy.



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