Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Users and Consumers are Not Wearing the Pants

Sure lots of women are blogging, but are any of them making a living? Some of the most high profile bloggers have found the cost too high. Kathy Sierra, the game developer, tech blogger and author of “Code Like A Girl”, one of the few female voices in the technology sphere quit after becoming the target of death threats. (“Cyber threats against well-known blogger” David Louie, ABC)

“A new social system starts, and seems delightfully free of the elitism and cliquishness of the existing systems. Then, as the new system grows, problems of scale set in. Not everyone can participate in every conversation. Not everyone gets to be heard. Some core group seems more connected than the rest of us, and so on. Prior to recent theoretical work on social networks, the usual explanations invoked individual behaviors: … We now know that these explanations are wrong, or at least beside the point. What matters is this: Diversity plus freedom of choice creates inequality, and the greater the diversity, the more extreme the inequality. … The very act of choosing, spread widely enough and freely enough, creates a power law distribution. “ (Shirky, 2003) “Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality”

The presence, or absence, of women in computing starts with very few women involved. By simple growth law, fewer women will become involved. Add the power law or Pareto distribution behaviour of preferential attachment and women will become powerless.

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