social sciences

DRAFT: Women writing about technology: a reading list for the new year

Draft!  Feedback welcome!

If you want to get straight to the list, feel free to skip the backstory.  If you’d prefer to start of with a great example of why we need lists like this, read on 🙂
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reviews
social sciences

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Booberday: Google+ and Diversity, part 8

Google+ in rainbow colorsSummary: it’s a “share pictures of your cleavage because of… breast cancer! yeah!” meme. That meta-meme is potent, folks. Got something you want people to do? Claim it’s about preventing or ameliorating or alerting or grieving breast cancer. You are now the untouchable saviour. The end.

— Mary, on Geek Feminism

A surprising number of guys don’t seem to get why so many women found the G+ weekend meme of sharing pictures of cleavage under the guise of “breast cancer awareness” offensive.   Mary’s article is a great roundup, with quotes from Christa Laser, Randall Monroe, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Peggy Orenstein, as well as links out to Twisty on I Blame the Patriarchy and Lauradhel of Hoyden about Town … but even so, there’s plenty of whining about “censorship” and mansplaining about how women who feel objectified are just wrong.  Sigh.

As M. M. Faulkner said six weeks ago on Pay Attention People in Why Women Users are Important for Google+,

Furthermore, although making a joke here or there, posting a somewhat mysogynist photo, or remarking on women’s love of Farmville may seem harmless enough, I think we need to recognize there is a larger picture. What I am speaking of is a collective conscience that forms when people are bombarded with the same images and messages over and over and over. The message for the past week has been ramping up and it seems to be suggesting that we are simply are not as “ready” for Google’s latest social media network. It reminds us, as women, we are in the “wrong place” at Google Plus.

Of course there are plenty of exceptions.  All of the people I’m following steered clear from Booberday, and guys like Randall Monroe and Mohamed Mansour (who worked overnight to get out Filter Stream for Google+) really stepped forward.  But still.

A heck of a lot of women have been talking for months about things that make Google+ a hostile environment to women … and Google’s largely ignored them.

I wonder what, if anything, they’ll do in the aftermath of Booberday?

Check out the previous posts in the series: A Work in Progress, Why it matters, #nymwars!, A tale of two searches, The double bind of oppression, Anxious masculinity under threat, and Still a Ways to Go

social sciences
Tales from the Net

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Still a Ways to Go: the Suggested Users List (part 7 of Diversity and Google+)

Google+ in rainbow colors

Google Plus launched a “suggested users” list yesterday. I’m not on it, and I bet you aren’t either, particularly if you’re an educator — because, well, there aren’t any educators on the list.

— Audrey Watters, Personal Learning Networks and the Google+ “Suggested Users” list

The Google Suggested User List reads like the typical San Francisco Bay Area tech firm’s view of the World: most of the “interesting and famous people” are white, and if they’re black, they’re male rappers or athletes. Hello, Snoop Dog, Chamillionaire, 50 Cent, Dwight Howard, and Floyd Mayweather!

A couple of weeks go, Google community manager Natalie Villalobos asked for feedback on why people’s friends weren’t staying on G+.   One of the things that came up was that it was often very hard for new users to find people the thought would be interesting to follow and engage with.  There are a lot of creative ways to approach this, for example Ardith Goodwin’s suggestion of a welcoming committee.  Instead, Google+’s decided to take the same approach that worked out spectacularly badly for Twitter two years ago.  Will they fare better?

The early returns aren’t encouraging.  Dave, Robert,  and others immediately criticized the idea of a “suggested users” list and Bradley’s outreach to the Twitter elite.  After Bradley responded in Dave’s comments, and then  shared more details Saturday morningRobert asked to be removed from the list.  Bradley responded again in Robert’s comments.  And the discussion rages on.

Vic Gundotra: We value diversity. Including diversity of opinion

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Professional
social sciences
Tales from the Net

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Tonight: Save the Rave — live at City Hall!

“We’re dealing with the most difficult-to-motivate generation ever. People today feel so powerless, like they can’t have an impact on anything that matters. But you can! So one of the things I’m trying to share with the community is that when you come together, we can make a difference. ”

– Save the Rave organizer Liam Shy

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entertainment
Personal
political
social sciences
Tales from the Net

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Blog for Choice Day: Yes, I’m concerned — and also encouraged

Today’s Blog for Choice Day. This year’s question is

Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?

To which my answer is a resounding “yes”.  The combination of well-financed political assaults on women’s right to choose, assassinations years of packing courts with conservatives, and lack of support from key Democrats have all severely restricted women’s right to choose.  In fact, “concerned” isn’t strong enough: alarmed, scared, and angry.

But as NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin said in their post, I’m not defeated.  In fact, I’m with Shark-Fu, who has a great post on Angry Black Bitch: Be Encouraged

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#mooreandme and #p2: learnings for progressives on Twitter (REVISED DRAFT)

Draft, work in progress. Feedback welcome!

Last updated February 5.

#p2 logo

Twitter is an opportunity to engage with communities currently marginalized by the “progressive blogosphere”. Demographically and stylisticly, Twitter is far less male-dominated than the big blogs of the progressive blogosphere …

— Tracy Viselli and Jon Pincus, The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter, February 2009

Twitter is, quite possibly, the best available medium for this particular kind of protest. The format has a number of features that level a playing field that tends to push women into the outfield.

How #Mooreandme Worked, Lili Loofbourow, December 2010

Twitter was an instinctive choice for #MooreandMe, because it made the target of the protest accessible and ensured that he could hear us. But I liked it as a medium for #DearJohn too, because it was really equalizing, it wasn’t hierarchical, it ensured that voices and perspectives could influence the conversation regardless of how well-connected or well-known they were, and it was a very visible, trackable way to register dissent.

– Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, interviewed in where is your line?, January 2011

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political
social sciences

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Calling the Troops to Battle: EFF’s Say No To Censorship Campaign

‘THE net interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it.’ This quote from John Gilmore, a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, often appears on the Internet. It reflects its users’ confidence that their electronic world, designed to resist nuclear attack, can also shrug off government regulation. By nature of its global reach and its decentralised design, they believe, it is unpoliceable.

They may be mistaken.

— Christopher Anderson, The Accidental Highway, The Economist, 1995

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

— John Perry Barlow, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, 1996

Fifteen years later, Barlow is calling the troops to battle: “The first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks.”   And Gilmore’s observation once again proved accurate, as hundreds of sites begain mirroring Wikileaks and Twitter briefly functioned as a ‘sneakernet DNS’.   Then Anonymous stepped up, first with denial of service attacks against PayPal, MasterCard and Visa, and now with Operation Leakspin.

Electronic Frontier Foundation, founded by Gilmore and Barlow 20 years ago along with Mitch Kapor, is calling troops to battle as well with their Say No To Online Censorship campaign.  What’s the impact likely to be?  So far, there have been a couple of blog posts: Executive Director Shari Steele’s Call To Action, and Kevin Bankston’s legal analysis Information is the Antidote to Fear, valuable reading for anybody at a web 2.0 or media company.   But they’re clearly capable of a lot more.

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Tales from the Net

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Calls to Boycott Amazon over Wikileaks: #amazonfail 2.0?

Boycott Amazon for Dumping Wikileaks (screenshot of Facebook page via Kurier.at)Heading into the busiest shopping time of the year, Amazon is suddenly facing threats of a boycott over censoring Wikileaks.   Seems like a good time to dust off the #amazonfail hashtag.

It started last week, after a hacker took one of Wikileaks’ sites down with a relatively weak attack.  Wikileaks moved their online base to Amazon, which from a technology perspective makes a lot of sense: their services are reliable and very scalable.  So it was all good.  Briefly.

Yesterday, after a public request from Senator Lieberman (and rumors of pressure from DHS), Amazon shut Wikileaks’ sites down for “unspecified violations” of their terms of use.  I think EFF’s Kevin Bankston speaks for a lot of us when he describes it as “disappointing”.

Unsurprisingly, there are calls for a boycott.  From Austria, Kurier has a great screenshot in Wut weil Amazon Wikileaks fallen ließSeattle Weekly has a good roundup including links to the Facebook page and the #amazonfail hashtag.

Hey wait a second.

Where have I heard that before?

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political
social sciences
Tales from the Net

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Wikileaks and Cablegate: the view from Taiwan

By NMA. Currently at 1500 views…

political
social sciences
Tales from the Net

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If She Ran the World She Would … (DRAFT)

DRAFT!  Please see the revised version on Tales from the Net

If Giovanna Mingarelli Ran The World, they would.

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political
social computing
social sciences
Tales from the Net

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What would it mean if women were paid as much as men? (DRAFT)

Draft! Please do not link here!

Update, April 20: Rrevised version has been posted on Qworky’s blog, Better Software/Better World

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political
Professional
qworky
social sciences

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#iranelection and a sea of green on Twitter: at the forefront of social network activism

“The first step that I suggest as a solution is that we Iranians, no matter where we live in the world, strengthen the social ties among ourselves…. This is where the power of our social network resides.”

— Mir Hussein Mousavi, quoted in Ehsan Moghaddasi’s The Green Moharram

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political
social sciences
Tales from the Net

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