Listserving the Deeply Geeky

BlogHer Original Post

It grew out of a session at the BlogHer Conference:

One of the most gratifying things coming out of this session was that here we were, all sharing a general sense that we had to do something -- and someone suggested we start right there, in the room, by gathering everyone's contacts into one meta-group, networking and mentoring each other and just staying connected.

That made total sense! As a self-taught geek who's too much the dork to be any good at networking, this was music to my ears. I mean, this room was its own estroswarm of geek power in this corner of the 'net industry.

So I pulled my notepad out of my bag and started passing it around the room, and it seems like everyone add [sic] their name and email....

Those of you who were there know that the session itself had been intense at times.

Women stood up, took the mic, and took issue with what others said. It wasn't nasty or contrarian, but spirited. The whole room was in on the conversation. Some women stood up and laid their hearts out, sharing their passion for what they do, often with tears -- not of victimhood, but of joy, of determination, of speaking from the core of their beings. (Yeah, it sounds corny to read it, but I swear it's true.)

We as the ostensible "panelists" mostly sat in the background.

From the very start, we panelists -- Melanie Swan, mir verberg, Nancy White and myself -- wanted our "panel discussion" to really be an un-panel. Who were we to speak for everyone? I certainly did not want to be part of a pontification session. No, we wanted to engage the "audience" and make them be participants.

As a result, 97% (or so it seemed; maybe a geek will add up the minutes when the podcast goes live) of the hour and a half was filled with women standing up, taking the mic, and opening their hearts.

We wanted to carry that momentum out of the session and back into our lives. Hence the list here.

Or maybe we should think of this as the "un-list"?

  • After all, lists are exclusive -- "Excuse me. Are you on The List?"
  • Lists convey some sort of hierarchy where none necessarily exists -- "I'm on the Technorocketdiggalexsterecosystem100!"
  • Lists lead to silly questions like "Where are all the women bloggers?" and assumptions that, well, if you're not on the list, then something is wrong with you.

Some of the questions that came up:

"How many of you consider yourselves geeks?"....

"How many of you are self-taught?" ....

"How many of you were mentored?"....

"Are women victims of chauvinism?"... "Is it worse in tech than other fields?"....

"Why are women uncomfortable assessing their own ability?"

"Why don't women get hired into management?"

"Why are women so often assumed to be incompetent technically?"

"Why are so many women entrepreneurs, yet so few are CEOs of larger concerns?"

"How do you deal with the jerks?"

"What can women do to change this?" Fight. Do better. Network better. Be more assertive. Change the culture. Estroswarm (a hiliarious word tossed out by Liza Sabater).


Now we have it: The Deeply Geeky email (un?)-list, hosted by BlogHer -- a place to continue the discussion, and share, and mentor, and network, and....

The "rules" for participation (so far) are pretty simple:

This email listserv was born out of the Deeply Geeky session at the BlogHer Conference '06. The purpose of this list is to share thoughts, information, job leads, mentoring advice, coordinate Estro-Swarms to support women's endeavors, and other things related to being a woman working in technology.

Please respect the privacy of others here. This is not a spam list. No sales pitches. No blogwhoring. (Spammers will be unceremoniously banned from the list.)

The list is open to all.

If you want to join the (un?)-list

All you have to do is visit the (un?)-list's subscription page and, in the area "Subscribing to DeeplyGeeky," type in your email address and a password you want to use (so you can change your subscription settings later, if you want).

If you were in the Deeply Geeky session at BlogHer '06 and added your email address to the sheet, you should have already received a welcome message in your email.

(And, of course, links to your subscription page, as well as to unsubscribe to the list, are in the footer of every email. You can unsubscribe at any time. All email addresses are kept in strict confidence. Your email address is revealed only when you post.)

That's it. Welcome!

Contributing Editor Laura Scott blogs at rare pattern and pingVision.


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