Sunday, March 12, 2006

Increasing Women's Visibility on the Web: Whose Butts Should We Be Kicking?

This panel continues a discussion from the 2005 SXSW called Where Are the Women of Web Design. This was a session sponsored by Blogher, and organization dedicated to promoting women on the Web. The panel included Virginia DeBolt (, Ayse Erginer (Arse Poetica), Tara Hunt (, Liz Henry ( and Jan Kabill (

Now the question is Where Are the Women Bloggers? How do you find them without searching for women and getting a lot of porn.

Bolt, as a veteran SXSW attendee, indicated that when she first started coming to the festival, she was invisible. She didn't try to meet people, didn't try to be more visible. But, she found the conference fascinating and became a believer in the conference topics, things like standards. She needed resources to facilitate her teaching. She started a blog, reviewing design books. This activity helped get her a reputation to review texts and then to write her own book. Now, she's on a panel at SXSW, instead of hiding in the back.

Obstacles to visibility:
-great blog, get your voice heard. It doesn't need to start out that way. Write comments to other blogs. Participate in the social networking element of the blogs; just keep on going (from an audience member)
-Another audience member, need more than a good blog, need a network, and sometime quality is not enough.
-Hunt - have an authentic voice; same hierarchies in life, comes down to what we value as voices and topics in society. Mommybloggers are not looked upon and talked about as "serious."
-Write to your audience; but Henry said that sometimes those 23-year-old tech guys might need to gain a perspective on something other than what is of direct relation to them.
-Is reach important?; does it matter if a few people or many read your blog?
-Should you have multiple blogs to address personal, political, professional, or should they be integrated?

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