In light of recent posts and discussions surrounding Susan Mernit and Stephanie Booth’s responses to Louis Gray’s "elite" FriendFeed list not having an equally proportionate amount of females on it, I feel a response from another woman in tech is necessary: stop your whining already!
If someone were to ask me to make a similar list, my response would be equal to Louis’, though not because I would list the same people (I wouldn’t). My list would be equally similar because males would dominate it. And make no mistake about it, I have no qualms about that fact. On the other hand, it seems Susan Mernit can’t say the same:
"I was irked that Gray’s A list of thirty-plus has just two women; on other hands, it’s really a list of bloggers he reads, it’s really no big deal–even if one if them seems to be a friend he keeps promoting."
If it’s no big deal, then why did you have an opinion about what’s on it and what’s missing? Why were you "irked"? Louis Gray calls it pointing out discrepancies. This is true, but overall, Mernit comes off as is if she’s whining. His list IS a big deal. I’ve made priceless amounts of connections and exponentially expanded not only my site, but also my social network and I’m sure others on the list could say the same. In fact, they have! I wouldn’t call that "no big deal". What you should’ve said was that those on the list we’re no big deal to you, but then what would’ve been the point of your post?
The Focus Is Not Sex/Gender
There are only two women who I would add to my list: Sarah Perez of Sarahintampa and Erin Kotecki Vest (QueenofSpain on Twitter). Everyone else would be men. Sarah and Erin make my list because they are the most relevant women in Tech to me. They’re relevant to me and in my eyes, this also makes them a big deal. They’re also very much noticed by males (and females) in the tech industry and I highly doubt that it’s all because of their good looks and charms! They’re visible and relevant to me and others!
"[…] there’s something to be said about the number of women in tech. Obviously!" – Erin Kotecki Veset (QueenofSpain)
This isn’t a battle of the sexes. Sex and gender play an insignificant role in the overall focus. The focus is Technology. Louis Gray doesn’t support me the way he does because I’m a female. Neither does Steven Hodson. Neither do the 150+ people following on Twitter! They support and share their own spotlights with me because I’m relevant. Sometimes only to them, sometimes to the conversation with others, sometimes both. Nevertheless, I’m relevant someway, somehow. If I wasn’t, Merit wouldn’t have raised flags about me beyond noting that there were two women on the list because you didn’t even bother to Liz Gannes of GigaOm.
They Are Relevant
I know people because they’re relevant. Up until this whole ordeal, I had no clue who Mernit and Booth were. Never heard of them before a day in my life. Either I missed the conversation or they just don’t travel in my circles. If it’s the latter than there’s a certain amount of respect that’s due to Louis and placing the fault on gender, when there’s no fault to begin with, is just pointless. You just may not be relevant or maybe you don’t run in the same circles. My name is being tweeted. My brand, my image, my site is being shared and discussed because I’m not only relevant, but I’m putting myself out there. Some people still don’t know who I am(I’ve a long journey ahead). Some just found out about me. In the end, I’m either irrelevant to them or relevant. They’ll stick around or they won’t. They’ll dismiss me or promote me and I don’t think it has very much to do with gender.
Making The Effort
Women are no longer as excluded as they used to be. I can’t speak for the last few years, but I’ve neither felt nor heard about such exclusions in Tech towards women in the previous year or so. Things have changed to some extent. When asking Erin Veset for her opinion, she Twitter’s me:
[…] but the fact is this space just isn’t what it used to be. last night 20 mom bloggers were talking with winer and kawasaki until 2am. now they are looking at new apps and thinking of consulting. We were shunned and would never think of talking tech or to those guys. with twitter-now it’s natural and normal and we all chat.
this momblogger just spent 4 days at sxsw. here was no disconnect between genders talking social media, tech. all were discussing it with me without bias and I was chatting right back
When I blog, I’m not thinking about the fact that I’m a female blogger and I don’t attempt to cater to an all female audience. I simply blog with my personal tech interests in mind, so that others can find me and share their thoughts. I don’t care what the gender is, and I’m sure they don’t either. Many things may weigh in on the decision, but ultimately relevancy is the deciding factor!
Technorati tags: louis gray, queenofspain, erin veset, bloggers, female bloggers, male bloggers, susan mernit, stephanie booth, sarah perez, sarahintampa, steven hodson