September 13, 2005
@ 02:18 AM

Shelley Powers has a post entitled Change starts at home where she points out the speaker list of the Our Social World conference is pretty homogenous (white males) and consists of the usual suspects when it comes to geeking about social software. I was quite surprised to see a comment in response to her post which stated

Shelley, you’re totally off the mark here. Firstly, there simply are not that many women working professionally on social software/blogging in the UK...Secondly, the speakers were self-selecting. Geoff who organised it put up a wiki and anyone could put their name down to speak. No women other than myself went to the effort of putting their name down and turning up... Finally, regarding ethnic minorities, you have to remember that the UK is not as ethnically diverse (and that that diversity is not as widely spread out) as the US .

I don't know about the UK but I do know that in the US, there are a lot of women in Social Software yet I keep seeing the same set of [white male] names on the speaker lists of various conferences on the topic. Given that this is the second post I've read today that points out the incongruities in the choices of geeks typically chosen as spokespeople for the social software world (the first was Phil Haack's Where are the Sociologists of Social Software) I decided to write something about it.

Just like with my Women in XML post last year, Shelley's post did make me start thinking about how many women I knew who worked with Social Software whose works I'd rather see presented than at least one of the presentations currently on the roster for the Our Social World conference. Here is my list





These women either are heavily involved in research around the sociological impact of technology and human interaction or actually work on building social software applications used by millions of people. Quite frankly, I'd rather hear any one of them speak than the typical geek you see at the average O'Reilly conference yaking about Social Software.

Unfortunately the people who really do the work that changes the world often get less publicity than the ones who just talk about it.