Good to see a piece in Business Week about the *camp movement but not surprised at Tara’s reaction. The article explains what happened at Web2Open:
“Chris Messina, 26, and two fellow Web2Open organizers stood on chairs in one of the Moscone Center’s alcoves, addressing a crowd of about 80. Speaking without microphones, they asked everyone to introduce themselves and offer three “tags,” or one-word descriptions, to give a sense of their topics of interest.”
So Tara is feeling rightly aggrieved (and see Chris’s response as well):
Seriously…months of hard work and being the ‘lead’ on the project, I get reduced to a chair perched by-stander? Luckily Chris has piped up on the subject before me, but wtf?! This ain’t the first time. And I’m not imagining things.
From what I saw, Tara did a remarkable job in organising and pushing this event and the many others she gets involved in; not getting the recognition for that role does not help her nor does it help the general attitude towards such events, whcih can be self perpetuating. I look at the London Geek Dinners – the ‘open’ ones which tended to be typically male dominated (or were, I’ve not attended any for a year) and the Girl Geek Dinners that had an entry criteria for men – you had to be invited by a woman. Given the number of women who go to the latter, self-declared geeks, it’s not a lack of numbers that skews the ration but the perception of the event. Articles like this do no help open up that perception, do not make the events inviting to women in general.
However, as an aside, the recent Podcamp NYC was the most diverse ‘tech’ event I’d ever attended; I wonder if because the media moves more towards art than pure tech.
The “secret” to PodCamp is that we think there are more people out there who can understand and participate in new media community tools than there are people who can hack java code and rewrite Google maps. That’s the only reason our diversity is so strong.
I loved the BarCamp I attended, but I went more as a fringe guy. I wasn’t smart enough to participate fully.
At PodCamp, if you’ve a message and seek an audience beyond your cubicle, you will probably get something out of the event. Blogging, audio and video podcasting, Second Life, whatever. The tools are just part of the experience.
BarCamp gave me (and Christopher Penn) “permission” to start PodCamp, so we’re obviously big fans. And it’s cool that BusinessWeek covered a bunch of unconferences. That was nice.
–Chris Brogan, co-founder of PodCamp.