Last week I opened the #SM4W13 Conference by telling people Why had we organised it.
This is the story I told…
I could tell you lots of statistics about women and social media and how they get overlooked, but in honour of Dr Who’s big birthday I thought we might do some time traveling.
I am a woman of generation X – I am in fact older than Dr Who!
My friends will tell you I am not a digi native. I sent my first email less than 15 years ago and it freaked me out and we only went online at home 12 years ago.
I studied sociology at uni in the 80’s and it was an exciting time. It was at that time that sociologists were challenging the theory that girls did not have the right brain structure to do well in science and maths. In short, sociologists argued that whilst learning materials were all written in the male gender girls would find it hard to identify with them.
It was realised that we need role models for our young people.
Fast forward to 1998. The year Google was born, which I missed because I was busy bringing my own baby girl into the world.
This is Generation Z, and they are digi natives. Here in the UK it’s pretty safe to say that most young people have access to a computer, or device and are pretty comfortable with it.
Now to 2013. Google and my girl are 15 and both have some big decisions to make. For my girl it was her options. She’s a smart kid and I have to say that I was chuffed when she chose computer science. Will I Am was her role model.
Guess how many girls there are in her GCSE Computer Science class?
So what has that got to do with the conference?
Well, I am not techie, but I get social media. I am in the camp that says social media is about sociology and psychology (well I would wouldn’t I?)
Social media builds community, gives people a voice, makes people accountable and makes things happen.
So pop back to last year: there were 2 local conferences that I wanted to go to.
But both had an all male line up.
I was truly shocked by this as it I was obvious to me that women are the biggest users of social media. But, worse is that it did a thing in my head that said, this will be too advanced for you Jane!
Obviously I questioned them on twitter and they said they couldn’t find any women speakers!
I thought they were wrong and so did Darren, Liz and others and we started discussing this.
As with all clouds the outcome was good. Both of those conferences then found women speakers. I went to one of them and was glad I did as it was brilliant and I learnt some good stuff.
Darren, Liz and I then got together early this year and in true entrepreneurial spirit, we said let’s do it ourselves. And as Liz then said, finding women speakers was in fact pretty easy! (you can find the full line up here )
So this conference is not about men or women being better than the other.
It’s about making a safe space for people to talk and learn more about SM
It is about show casing women speakers who know their stuff
And it is about creating role models for change..
You can see other blogs about the conference…