Quick notes from Women Who Tech Telesummit

4/2 update: See housewifery.wordpress.com/  for live blogging on these and other sessions. [If the telesummit’s no longer on the front page, start at this post and look for earlier ones.]

Earlier today, I virtually attended four sessions from the Women Who Tech Telesummit. This free series of webinars brought together some amazing folks thinking about Women and Technology from a number of points of view. Check out the sponsors and organizers on www.womenwhotech.com, and thank those that you know!

The slides and audio will be available on the website, but here are a few highlights from the sessions I attended.

I. Build An Online Campaign And Save The World

  • Graphic tip: use faces and eyes
  • Lists of tools: TechSoup.org, Idealware.org, SocialSourceCommons.org
  • TODO: check out networking at Care2.com
  • Message rates: Encourage at least one advocacy action per month [What does this mean for the list alerts@ncwu.org which goes quiet for months at a time between sessions?]

II. Women and social capital

Tara Hunt, the moderator has an upcoming book that addesses this issue. She framed the conversation with some “big ideas”

  • Mentioned Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone and the distinction between “bonding capital” and “bridging capital”. Women build more of the first, while men create more of the second. [I think I missed that on reading it. But the book is one reason I’m so engaged in AAUW.]
  • Pew Internet Research: Women’s use of social networking is (understandably) more anonymous. Men are more likely to be open, hosting an audience, more likely to mentor/support each other.

The session then was a conversation with Joan Blades and Arianna Huffington. I’ll need to get the podcast and relisten.

III. Women and Open Source

  • Included a discussion of “hacker culture” which, though I’ve been working with Open Source since 1982, I’ve never really embraced. Developers lists tend to have blunt talk about how code can be improved — but the suggestion was to learn take criticism as encouragement. It’s when you’re being ignored that you need to think about finding a new community: if your comments aren’t worth criticizing …
  • This leads to a discussion of “finding the right community”. Open Source work can be seen as participating in a “karma bank” and it’s not often obvious how to choose the right community where your contributions can be effective (and so you can repay what you’ve received from other projects). There was a suggestion that open source projects evolve and that later in their life cycles they are more accepting of work like documentation, user interface analysis, etc. If that’s your area of expertise, you might also choose “end user friendly” projects instead of those like coding the kernel. Another example was the Drupal dojo community where “newbies train newbies”. [There’s been a recent discussion on the Systers list about women in open source. The recording of this session may be of interest there.]
  • See FlossPols.org for information on policy issues related to open source.
  • LinuxChix was mentioned in a couple of contexts. In particular their courses include “Spineful Living” (as opposed to Spineless). I think the archive for that course can be found at http://mailman.linuxchix.org/pipermail/courses/2007-April/thread.html.
  • A slide with a list of resources, included PHP women, DrupalChix — see the recording for others.
  • Ended with a discussion of nonprofit open source: Larger involvement in women, very friendly, respect contributions other than code. CiviCRM, Organizer’s database, were two projects that were mentioned.

IV. Web 2.0: Hot Or Not?

Beth Kanter’s slides are posted on her blog. I made the following notes.

  • What’s new is ease of creating content, ease of shaping audiences
  • Choose tools that match demographics and “technographics” [I think we’re considering this with Facebook for AAUW.]
  • Slide from Forrester Research — demographics and use of social networks gave an interesting picture of age vs. ways of participating. [Click through to the version on slideshare, then go to slide 12 and hit Full Screen in the lower right.]
  • Learn techniques for listening — case study from Red Cross
  • It’s about conversations
  • Be careful with staff roles – need those who are familiar, but all need to understand; define a box — discussions about the downside. [Easter Seals — written policy on social networking, code of professional behavior.]
  • Thoughtful experimentation. Different messaging on different networks.
  • How do we make it safe to fail? to learn?
  • It takes time — 2 hrs/day minimum; Sisyphean task to see ROI

Connie Reece: Case study of the Frozen Pea Fund

  • Amazing story. From first tweet to engage a community (12/5/07) to 501(c)3 formed (2/20/08).
  • Dollar investment may be small. Consider ROI in terms of “return on involvement,” “return on influence”.
  • Social media: intersection of sociology, media, technology. New tools to do what’s been done for some time.

Heather Holdridge, Care2.com

See the recording to her answers/comments on some of these topics:

  • Web 2.0 meeting human needs
  • What makes campaigns work?
  • Who should try social networking campaigns?
    Lots of volunteers, huge email networks, dedicated staff, max’d e-mail marketing
    Not free – will need dedicated resources
  • 1.0 vs 2.0 – Save Darfur; $415,000 in 10 days through e-mail (M&R consulting) vs. $15,000 in 6 months from 1 million “friends”
  • Compare/contrast Social network, website
  • Goals (success?) – Awareness and Outreach (yes), Advocacy (some), Fundraising (minimal)
  • Social network ROI calculator – frogloop.com/social-network-calculator
  • What metrics? Might not be money or actions taken. [For me and our small Facebook experiment, I think the key metric is the number of members moved from the periphery of the organization to real participants in significant communications projects.]
  • IFAW – case study; campaign specific pages


  • Digital natives vs. digital immigrants: check Pew Internet studies, Forrester, the digital native wiki – how young people are using social media
  • Go deep on one platform – allow friends to spread to other platforms

Beth: beth.typepad.com
Connie: everydotconnects.com
Allyson: www.radcampaign.com/blog/
Heather: www.care2.com/politics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *