Posts tagged: blogging

Feb 10 2009

The New State of Gender in Technology

I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with the so called feminist movement in the web community. There have been a lot of these “hey, why isn’t a woman listed on this,” complaints over the last couple of months, more than I’ve seen in a long time. I really don’t like it, and think it hurts, rather than helps, our cause.

Earlier today, a question was thrown out on twitter about whether or not a woman should have been included in this article about A-Listers who have stopped blogging, Jason Calacanis, Michael Arrington, and the latest to join the list…Dan Lyons.’

My answer was no, I couldn’t think of an A-lister who belonged on the list. In fact, the only female blogger I could of who would even remotely fit the concept of the article was Kathy Sierra, but that was almost a year ago now, and the article was listing recent blogging drop outs.

Fact is, there isn’t a woman to put on the list. Period. It is one thing to not include a woman on a keynote of a conference about women (as happened a couple of weeks ago). It’s a whole other thing to ask why women aren’t included in everything.

10 years ago, I did lots and lots of interviews and panels about women and technology. The internet was male dominated, it still is, but it was certainly worse back then. There was blatant hostility towards women, we were genuinely afraid (at times) to openly be a woman online and it was important that we talked about it to change things. I took the same view then I did now. Don’t treat us any differently, don’t make concessions or lower standards because we’re women. We can totally rise to the challenge and beat you at your own game.

I thought things were getting better, and have said as much over the last few years. Sure, the industry is still male dominated – hell, my own company is comprised of 11 men and me, but so what. This generation of teenagers are growing up with computers, and I fully believe they will be heading into technology in mass numbers. Things are, without a doubt, going to change.

I never, ever expected to hear “women must be included everywhere just because they’re women.” That’s just not true, and it really upsets me to hear that. I think it’s destructive to our fight for equality, and only perpetuates the belief that men need to pander to women.

I don’t know where this came from. I’m a little concerned that it’s related in some part to the mommy blogger movement, which, for better or worse, is convincing some (with emphasis on SOME, I’m not trashing the entire movement) women that they should be rich and famous just because they blog about pampers. Male or female, you’re not going to get rich off of a blog. Period.

Do I sound bitter? Good, because I am. We’re taking steps backwards, not forwards.

Women are looking at gender first, then content. Please stop it. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the problem now really is with the women, not the men. And that’s pathetic.

Equality needs to start with us. If women can’t even act like they’re equal to men, then we can’t expect men to treat us that way. Stop using gender as a sword, and acting like you’re entitled to something special because you’re female.  Act like you’re equal, and you’ll be treated equally.

To get back to the original point here, stop pointing out every single thing that doesn’t include a woman! It doesn’t matter, and it sure as hell doesn’t help.

Feb 06 2009

25 Things to Complain About On Facebook

Yesterday both the New York Times and Time Magazine published articles about the new trend on Facebook of answering silly little quizzes like “25 things you didn’t know about me.”These quizzes have been known for years as “memes.” I’ve done two of the meme’s in here, and if you really want more to do, there has been a website called the Daily Meme for a while now. The New York Times article was a ‘real’ newspaper article, researched, with real information. The Time Magazine article was a whiny diatribe about how “stupid” these things are and how dare they show up on this reporter’s Facebook.

Oh please, grow up.

According to Wikipedia, meme’s in internet culture refer to humor spreading quickly over the internet. For example, the “tell me 25 things about you…” survey that’s been flying around facebook.

These things have been around forever. They were mainly spread by email, but you’d also see them on people’s blogs (LiveJournal, or Xanga, mainly), or .plan files. Sometimes they were fun, sometimes they were dumb, but they always had a serious distribution problem that resulted in most people despising them. They would very easily turn into spam. One person would fill out the quiz, send it to 20 friends. Then that person would reply to all, add another 20 people, and…you get the picture. Those were truly the days of “25 things I didn’t want to know about you.” I didn’t even know you!

If these things are really coming back again (and it certainly seems like they are), Facebook is the perfect space for them, since they are so easy to ignore. Facebook is not like LiveJournal where a long quiz is making your Friends page huge, or like email where one quiz turns into 40 responses from people you don’t even know.  On facebook, by default, you will only see the subject line and one or two questions…if that. You’ll also only see those from your friends. There isn’t a gun being held to your head forcing you to read someone’s silly note.

Nobody has to be on Facebook. It’s a choice. If you are there, you have tools to control who and what you see. But at its core, Facebook is about sharing information among friends. Don’t want to share or see information? Don’t be there. And I’m talking to you, Time Magazine reporter. I don’t go to or and mock what they’re doing. You don’t have to go to and spoil our fun.

(On a side note, someone’s gotta get this guy on MyYearbook. I think his head would explode.)

Personally, I am thrilled to see these things flying around Facebook. It means things be a changin, although I couldn’t tell you if it’s for the better or worse. Meme’s never really took over MySpace even though people do them all the time in bulletins. But, meme’s completely changed the culture of LiveJournal and Xanga. Many, many people wrote blogs that were full of nothing but meme’s. Not something I ever wanted to read, sure, but these were people who wouldn’t have been blogging without the memes. These dumb quizzes and surveys increased usage of all of these sites, and that’s ultimately a good thing.

Will Facebook users revolt, or will memes result in people spending even more time on Facebook, viewing even more pages? It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here.

Jan 25 2009

25 things you might not know about me

I was tagged to do this on facebook, but since I have a blog, and my blog entries end up on facebook anyway….I’ll write it up here, and tag everyone there.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with
25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose
25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I
tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these
instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag
25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. One of my favorite things to do is sleep all day, but I can rarely sleep past 9am anymore.

2. I am terrified of lightning.

3. I was a New York State certified EMT-D and rode on an ambulance corps for 5 years. I don’t remember much anymore, beyond ALS-CPR (which I will never forget) and basic first aid stuff.

4. My brother was born on Memorial Day. I was positive the parade for Memorial Day was actually a parade celebrating his birth.

5. I used to call the hospital every birthday to ask if I was old enough to be a candy striper yet. I was SO excited when they said yes, and was one until I left for college.

6. I am a published author in an MIT book on Women and Games. Looking back at it now, I like the content of my article, but think it was very poorly written.

7. I am a bread geek, and can go on and on and on about uses of different flours, sourdough, and fillers in bread, and what they do to the end result.

8. Kurt Cobain spit on me one week before he died. I still don’t really know why – he walked out of his hotel angry and spitting. I threw out the sweater as fast as I could take it off. Dave Grohl was very nice, though.

9. I am very hyperactive, and was tied to my chair by my second grade teacher for not sitting still. I was embarrassed by it, and my parents only found out when my best friend told my mom.

10. I can “speak” American Sign Language, but I forget more and more every day.

11. I love all things Broadway, and was part of Putnam County Spelling Bee when I got to be one of the people in the spelling bee. I was out in the first round, but at least I can say I’ve been on Broadway.

12. I have a lot of grey hair. It’s covered well.

13. When I was 4, I walked into my neighbor’s house and sat down at her piano to play. I didn’t know her, but she was a piano teacher and started teaching me. I stopped playing in high school, and just started playing again four years ago. It drives me nuts that I can’t do what I could do then, my head knows what to do, but my fingers can’t do it.

14. I built my first website ’96 at It was all about the X-Files, and “worked best in Netscape.”

15. I used to spend all day every Sunday at the library playing with their computers when I was in elementary school.

16. I become obsessed with things very easily.

17. I once got an A+ in a statistics class at NYU that I only went to twice. Once for midterm review, and once for the final review.

18. I love to write fiction. I think I’m damn good at it, and my secret fantasy is to publish someday.

19. I cannot handle silence. There always needs to be some background noise, doesn’t matter what it is, there just has to be something.

20. I am my own worst critic.

21. I worked in a cancer research lab in high school doing necropsies on rats and mice. I lost the job when New York passed a law saying that “children under 18 could not work in hazardous conditions.” I worked with formalin, so….I was crushed when I couldn’t work there anymore, I loved it.

22. I hate beer.

23. I have a huge collection of stuffed animals, and as much as I know I should get rid of some of them, I can’t decide which to give away. Every stuffed animal contains a memory.

24. I cannot live without a watch, which I wear on my right hand, even though I’m right handed.

25. My hands shake. My right hand shakes more than my left. It’s called “minor tremor,” according to doctors it is ‘harmless,’ and the only thing that stops it is alcohol.

Nov 01 2008

Blogging’s not what it used to be

I feel like I should say something profound, it being November 1st and the beginning of this whole “blogging for 30 days” month. I’m not good at profound, though. So some ramblings on blogging.

I’ve been blogging for a long time. My LiveJournal creation date is in early 2002, but I’d kind of started a bit before that in a different form. Like many people, whatever personal webpage I was working on at the time had an “about me” section. The “about me” would turn into a personal blog, entries in reverse order and all, and was updated almost as regularly as the rest of the site.

Before that, I had a .plan file on my VAX account. The updates there were closer to status updates on Facebook/MySpace, or Twitter blabberings, but even there, I would put basic info like “in class.” I didn’t keep the old entries, though (which is technically required to hit the definition of a “blog”).

Over the years my blogging has become much less personal, I’m sure in large part due to the fact that just about everyone’s online these days. I mean…my mom reads my Twitter. Weird, right? Not bad, just strange. The Internet was my world.

The majority of the entries in my former blog would be locked to friends-only, and would be extremely personal at times. I was a master of friend lists, and would post to different people depending on the topic. I trusted that privacy. I don’t anymore.

I very rarely see people blogging like we used to. It’s a necessary thing, of course, we were regularly talking about things we didn’t want the world to know. Not a good idea to put private information online these days.

I do miss it, though. I was friends with every single person who read my blog, and truly valued their comments and feedback. These days, I have nearly 1,000 followers on Twitter, and damn if I know half of them.

Our tiny Internet community exploded. It’s different, sure, but I’m very happy to welcome everyone on board. This is just the start – the next five years online are going to be amazing. And I for one can’t wait to see what happens.

Jul 28 2008

WordPress is neat

I’m still working on things, but I gotta admit – WordPress is as friendly to use as people say.

It isn’t EASY, or at least, not for what I’m doing – the one-click install didn’t fly – but it is still remarkably user friendly.

And I’m posting this through ScribeFire, which I just adore, but had poor LJ support.

Hopefully will be ready to fully pull the trigger on this blog by the weekend. Woo!

Mar 30 2008

Has Twitter Ruined Blogging?

Earlier today, someone – I can’t remember who, I follow too many people – commented on Twitter (tweeted, I guess) that “Twitter is the gateway drug to blogging.” I wholeheartedly disagree.

Of the many, many messages I sent out on Twitter over the past week, five of them could have easily been blog entries. In fact, at least two of the messages probably would have turned into blog entries, had I not already released the emotions and thoughts around each over Twitter. That’s kind of a shame, the entries would have been interesting. But I truly don’t feel like writing them now. I already did, in very short form.

A blog entry requires actual writing. A somewhat decently written “article” focused around a thought. There is time involved, no matter how short the entry is, which means there is always a time delay from the moment I come up with the thought to the satisfaction of posting the entry. A computer is also required, since I don’t like typing a lot on my blackberry. I used to come up with ideas for blog entries and save them for later. I’d email them to myself at home, scribble them down on a post-it, whatever. These days, instead of saving an idea for a later blog entry, I immediately post it on Twitter.

All you need for Twitter is a phone. There isn’t any real writing or time involved, since the largest a “tweet” can be is 140 characters. I’m able to immediately release the thought, and forget about it. Or watch and see what other people think, which, let’s face it, is what a lot of us do when we’re writing anything we share with the public. I’ve asked questions in this blog – I’m doing it right now. I’ve also done the same over Twitter. We all crave interaction and responses. Why wait until a blog entry can be written when we can instantly get the thought out over Twitter?

I know I’ve been blogging less since I first started using Pownce, then moved to Twitter. For me, Pownce was the gateway drug to Twitter. Twitter’s character limit is truly what did it for me. I can’t think a lot about a tweet, it’s too short. I could blab a bit on Pownce.

We all once said that “push” technology would change the Internet. Pointcast, right? Well, it took a while, but look…it happened. I always have Twitter on, and I’m always checking it. It’s right there, pushed to my screen. From the major to the mundane, the 154 people I’m following on Twitter right now are always talking about something I’m interested in. And believe me, following 154 people is a somewhat small number for Twitter. I get my news from Twitter, even, my coworkers laugh at me for how often I end up saying “I just read on Twitter that….” Who needs a newspaper, when I have CNN Breaking News on Twitter?

To those of you who haven’t discovered Twitter yet, beware. Remember your life before email? One day you’ll remember your life before Twitter. I truly believe the impact will be just as significant. We may not always be using this one service, but the lifestreaming Twitter has created won’t be going away anytime soon. We are genuinely interested in the tiny details of other people’s lives, just like they’re interested in the details of ours. They say everyone’s a voyeur. Do I really need to know that someone is ‘going to get a glass of coke?’ Or someone else is ‘putting the baby to bed?’ Not at all. But I keep following….

Find me on Twitter as @stephaniebambam.

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