I was about to write my post for this month’s magazine when Karen’s reminder email came into my inbox. She asked “does social media/internet technologies make technology more acceptable to women/girls?” So I stopped to think about that for a while and I wonder if maybe it will take a wee bit longer for this to become evident.
Let me explain my thinking.
The world of social media continues to develop and maybe the film “The Social Network” the story of the founding of Facebook started to make it more mainstream but in that story the main players were men. Geeks if you will (though I hate labels – even those that are viewed affectionately).
What happened to the girl geeks then? Well I have certainly met many who are at the heart of development and use of the new media and a lot of them own their own business. Although Mark Zuckerberg was the high profile founder of Facebook the sheer speed of the growth in the sector and the range of options available possibly makes the high profile personalities harder to notice. I challenged myself to think of a high profile female tech guru and couldn’t come up with one. But that does not mean they are not there. And high profile today is potentially yesterday’s man (or woman) in this fast paced world.
I meet a lot of younger people through my involvement with Young Enterprise, in schools as a speaking skills/financial education trainer and as as associate of Edinburgh Napier University. Their connection to their mobile technology is clear and makes sense since most of them have not lived in a time when it was not available.
The downside of this I think though is that those young people do not recognise that they have an extra skill that some of us older folks struggle to master. Add to that that despite the fact that many employers use social media in their recruitment process many still limit – if not ban outright – use of social media in the workplace but now’s probably the time to think about how to harness that talent for the future of their business.
This might open up opportunities for the young users today who will be the designers /creators/inventors of tomorrow. Some will train and qualify as such. Others will play around the edges , collaborating online ( because they can) and developing the kind of things they want to use themselves whilst holding down a regular job – which may or may not be tech based.
Just to throw in a sweeping generalisation here – and why not! – perceived wisdom is that women usually prefer to chat and build relationships. Their chat can be amplified by social media and building relationships enabled by it.
And as long as it retains cool and exciting elements it will attract talent. I expect to see more and more of the quiet women who are there already stepping into the limelight.