What I'm Reading...
Women Superstars

X Chromosome Web 2.0 Rock Stars

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia Technology

There is a thread here that has interested me - and I'm not going to let it die. I want to piggyback on the post about Sheri McConnell.Rockstar

I read this post last week and didn't really think more of it at the time.  But, as the week went on, I started to think more and more about it. Then I was thinking about it an awful lot. It was just under my skin in a way that things I get passionate about have a tendency to do.

Really, where are all the female web 2.0 rock stars?

I'm so tired of seeing the faces of Paul Gillin, Guy Kawasaki, Jeremiah Owyang, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE fan of these guys. I try to attend every event where Jeremiah Owyang is speaking - he's THAT insightful. And, I download anything (within reason) Guy posts to his blog. I tell people to read Paul's book al the time. Very smart guys, no doubt, but I'm just a little tired of the same old same old. And, while the W List was great, I'd rather a speaking opp at AlwaysOn/Forrester/Gartner/Fortune Small Business conferences.

Thinking that I might be a little 'over the top' (as I tend to get about issues that hit home), I asked a very, very well-known marketing/business change guru the question that made me doubt for the first time that this man had cajones. Normally he's a bold guy with fresh ideas and super dope responses.

But, when I asked him:

"Where are all the female web 2.0/social media rock stars? Not the company starters. I mean the ones that the media should/could be quoting?"

His response was to dodge the issue by replying that:

  1. gender isn't an issue (Hah! Since when dude?)
  2. good content is what matters (as if there's no good content from women??)
  3. and then he pulled a dummy move by telling me "the web needs me" and offering up Kathy Sierra as a good example of a successful woman in the web 2.0 world (excellent example, but ONE woman???)

Nice try buckaroo. I like flattery and all like that there, but I'm not buying that crumbling bridge you're sellin'.

I immediately replied that I would LOVE to have the liberty of thinking that gender (or race) doesn't matter in this world, but that is a leisure afforded only to white males - of which he is one.

Up until this time, we had had a back and forth communication - after I sent my last reply, the email lines went icy cold.

I find it amazing that the men who are in power in web 2.0 TALK a good game about inclusion, but are basically unwilling to show up to effect change - even in the least little bit. They ask women not to focus on gender, to just let things evolve...I wonder where Black, Latino or Jewish people would be if things were just allowed to evolve?

I find it ironic that everyone wants to talk about inclusion in this damn industry and NO ONE wants to talk about race or gender - I should say, not the men. Their cajones shrink to the size of tic tacs the minute the subject of women's advancement, industry power and recognition comes into view.

Dreck, I thought this guy was smarter, more with-it and more in-tune than that. Maybe, maybe not. It's not going to stop me from reading his material and emailing him every now and again. He's still smart as hell...I just look at him differently now.

Perhaps he is thinking about it, but he's just not willing to go there with me...(yet - or ever).

Perhaps he's thinking about an appropriate response.

Perhaps he's figuring out a plan of action.

Perhaps he's asking all the other male 'action figures' what they think.


And, maybe I'm making a hole in my career by even posting this, but I don't give crap. Like I told you before, authenticity is the best form of marketing there is.

P.S. Never one to present a problem without a solution. I think I have a solution, but I'm not going to share it quite yet. Let me work on it for a good bit and get back to you with my results. Stay tuned...


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Colin Carmichael

I would think that my new boss would qualify for the list:

Maggie Fox, CEO, Social Media Group

Mary Schmidt

Great. The only example he could come up with is Kathy Sierra, who quit blogging after she was frightened. (Which was a personal decision, but damn it, another "poor little woman" victim...) I loved Kathy's blog - and wrote her offline encouraging her...but she's gone.

"Gender isn't an issue?" Yep, try telling that to the talking heads watching Hillary's campaign. It's almost as much as "non-issue" as race is in Obama's run.

Glaggg. I look forward to hearing more about your solution - and how I can be part of it!

And, this post makes me think I should be going to Blogher in April.

Jay Bryant

I would also suggest Jenna Woodul, Chief Community Officer at LiveWorld. She has over 20 years of experience with social media since her days starting with Apple in the mid- 80's.

Yvonne DiVita

Lena, thanks for chiming in on this topic. Interestingly, at the last Blogher, I encountered a number of WOMEN who said gender doesn't matter. These were ones at the top - where they had learned to talk and act like the guys...so they could be part of the club.

But gender is and always will be an issue. It's one of the first things you notice about a person - and there is a gut reaction to that (generally, IMHO, meeting a high powered business woman sets off alarms: is she a B*T*C*? Is she high-strung? Is she even qualified?) None of that happens when you first meet a man in a high powered position.

So, there are a good number of folks, both male and female, who would like us to believe gender doesn't matter, when its truly a major influence.

Jeremiah Owyang

Deb Schultz -Social Media Marketing

Heather Champ --Flickr

Jeremiah Owyang

I almost forgot Teresa Valdez Klein, she's really fantastic.

Jeremiah Owyang

Oh, I couldn't forget:

Charlene Li, my colleague who's launching a book tour on her upcoming book Groundswell

Any of the blogher founders

Jeremiah Owyang

Here's a few of my faves:

Tara Hunt (social media/anti-marketing marketing)

Connie Benson (community)

KD Paine (Social Media Measurement)

Jennifer Jones (Marketing Voices Podcast)

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