Inspiring: Girl Develop IT #becauseiamagirl

Share

One thing I’m passionate about is the possibilities opened up for all of us by technology. And techincal literacy is an important way that we can open up those possibilities for women.

Another thing I’m passionate about is people who make a difference – those who get up off the sofa and take action. Sara Chipps is someone who has seen a need and taken action with her Girl Develop IT program, as she explains:

It can be intimidating for women to learn and ask questions when they are in an extreme minority. While open and welcoming, today’s budding developer community is up to 91% male. There isn’t a comfortable place where women can learn at their own pace and not be afraid to ask “stupid questions.”

We decided it was time to provide a place where all questions are OK and everyone can learn in a supportive environment. Our courses focus on coding, leveraging existing technology, and having something to show for it (aka building sweet websites).

And in Australia Pamela Fox has been inspired by Sara’s lead and is setting up a local version of Girl Develop IT in Sydney.

Kudos to Sara and Pamela for getting off the sofa and doing something to help build up technical literacy for women and girls.

This all fits rather nicely into the Plan Australia Because I am a Girl campaign:

You Can Help Change the World

Plan International says “There’s no greater enemy of inequality than keeping quiet!”

Act now! Spread the ‘Because I am a Girl’ message throughout your network of family, friends and colleagues.

Simple Things You Can Do Right Now …

  • Share your story here
  • Inform people about the campaign through your websites, newsletters, emails and other touch points. Plan can provide you logos and information on the campaign.
  • Host lunches with friends, partners and clients. Depending on the event Plan can provide content and speakers.
  • Plan can work with you to see how your business can build awareness among your customers and suppliers.
  • You can donate to Plan in Australia’s GirlsFund, that works to address the unique obstacles faced by girls.
  • You can sponsor a child with Plan. Over 48,000 individuals and businesses in Australia sponsor children with Plan.  Plan uses funds through child sponsorship to support projects that bring lasting change to a child’s entire community, such as gender equality.
  • For more ways on how you can support the campaign visit Plan Australia’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ website
  • Because I am a Girl Facebook Group
  • Twitter: @invest_in_girls
Share

Rethinking a girl’s place in the world #becauseiamagirl

becauseiamagirl
Share

Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky investigates the oppression of women globally. Half the Sky lays out an agenda for the world’s women and three major abuses: sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape; maternal mortality, which needlessly claims one woman a minute.

Her stories are confronting. Only when women in developing countries have equal access to education and economic opportunity will we be using all our human resources.

 

You Can Help Change the World

Plan International says “There’s no greater enemy of inequality than keeping quiet!”

Act now! Spread the ‘Because I am a Girl’ message throughout your network of family, friends and colleagues.

Simple Things You Can Do Right Now …

  • Share your story here
  • Inform people about the campaign through your websites, newsletters, emails and other touch points. Plan can provide you logos and information on the campaign.
  • Host lunches with friends, partners and clients. Depending on the event Plan can provide content and speakers.
  • Plan can work with you to see how your business can build awareness among your customers and suppliers.
  • You can donate to Plan in Australia’s GirlsFund, that works to address the unique obstacles faced by girls.
  • You can sponsor a child with Plan. Over 48,000 individuals and businesses in Australia sponsor children with Plan.  Plan uses funds through child sponsorship to support projects that bring lasting change to a child’s entire community, such as gender equality.
  • For more ways on how you can support the campaign visit Plan Australia’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ website
  • Because I am a Girl Facebook Group
  • Twitter: @invest_in_girls

Thanks to my friend Alli for putting me on to the Half the Sky video.

Share

Making digital marketing work

Share

Much of the digital marketing I see is a bit tragic.  Tragic for the businesses  who are investing hard won income into campaigns that might not deliver a return on investment.

Some of it seems like self-indulgent twaddle done by creative types for their own amusement.  Other times it seems that the marketing manager has signed off on a campaign that they like and suits their needs rather than think for two minutes about the consumer.

Often it is difficult to work out who it is aimed at or what the message actually is. Then I start to question how valid it is for some businesses to create their own social networks or even their own Facebook pages for various brands or products.

It seems that we sometimes forget the basics when we fall in love with new technology. Also the new technology associated with digital marketing means that there is a lot of data available.

Yet many organisations are still grappling with how to filter, interpret and manage the firehose of data gushing their way from these digital marketing activities.

Just because we can do certain things with technology is not necessarily a reason to do them. The fundamentals of marketing still apply!

  • Who is the target consumer? Think about marketing to a single person or series of people, rather than assuming a huge old-fashioned style audience as a blob.
  • Where can I find these kinds of people?
  • Why is my product relevant to them?
  • How can I explain it to them effectively?
  • How can we translate knowledge into action by consumers?
  • How we can we measure effectiveness of our digital marketing activities?

The four foundations for success in digital marketing activities are:

  1. Start with understanding the customer – effective research is the cornerstone.
  2. Set an overall strategy and allow it to be the guide.
  3. Chunk the strategy up into campaign elements for tactical execution.
  4. Define the metrics at the start and then track them relentlessly – use them to work through the four steps to recalibrate activity (the day of set and forget marketing is over).

The other critical element is to realise is that consumers are changing.  There ways and places of consuming media are shifting.  It is no longer safe to assume that traditional media solutions will continue to work as they always have in the past.  For instance we are seeing a continued decline in newspaper circulation.

Digital marketing is not just about buying banner ads and setting up a Facebook page.  It is about creating real value for customers, shareholders and other stakeholders.

Share

Call for Papers: Haecksen Miniconf LCA2011

Share

The folks over at LCA2011 are running a Haecksen miniconf and have issued a call for papers closing on 24 September 2010 …

 

“The Haecksen miniconf is on again! This year, linux.conf.au is going to be held in sunny Brisbane, and we want to invite women who develop, administer and play with FLOSS to come and join us again at the miniconf.

Important: The CFP closes at midnight 24 September 2010. Selected talks will be announced early in October. That’s not much time, so get cracking!

We’re attempting to mix it up a bit this year, so we’re looking for people willing to give long talks like normal (20 or 40 minutes), but we are also after lightning talkers, panel experts, and hands-on demos.”

Share

Rethinking organisations: the digital revolution, social and convergence

Share

An interesting question came up last Friday in a discussion with a group of Marketing and Communications folks from McDonald’s. It was about how social media might be situated and used differently depending upon whether you approached it from either a Marketing or a Communications team perspective. Also the question of who should “own” social media within the organisation was raised.

These are good questions and they got me thinking.

One of the things I often speak about is how technology is converging. How computers, televisions, mobile phones and broadband are converging together to give us new kinds of devices that call into being new kinds of content. As a result we are seeing the mashing up of media from diverse sources and its remixing. The much loved Hitler Downfall Parodies are a great example of this.

The convergence of technology is also being influenced by new kinds of software. Social software that is so easy to use that non-technical people can create and use it without needing to track down geek assistance. Software like Facebook and Flickr are great examples of this trend.

However, another trend associated with this change in technology is the skills and capabilities that businesses need to thrive in this new environment.

In the past, under bureaucratic systems that arose during the last two hundred years in the industrial revolution, specialised silos were created to enable businesses to scale effectively.

Bureaucracy has become a value laden term these days and it is generally used in a negative sense. However, bureaucracy was an essential way to organise people on a grand scale in an age before realtime digital communications. But now that there is almost ubiquitous realtime digital communications we are undergoing a digital revolution.

Our business structures, skills and organisation have not yet adapted to this new world. I can see the need for convergence of skills and activities to enable businesses to take advantage of the digital revolution. Thus I’m starting to see the need for a convergence of many roles and functions. We need to start thinking about how to totally remap the organisation to integrate digital functions effectively.

For example, in the areas of marketing and communications the boundaries start to blur already. The real task of these areas is to communicate with people, either inside our outside of the organisation. And, increasingly, their role is to converse and collaborate with their stakeholders. These functions are merging towards creation of collaborative communities as the audience morphs into participants rather than passive recipients.

The kinds of ideas that need to inform our thinking about how to reshape our organisations for the digital revolution include:

  • Networks: both human and technology networks are key, working out how to enable each of these inside and outside of the organisation is critical.
  • Amplification: understanding how these new human and technology networks amplify messages is imperative; defining cultural practices that embrace this idea is important.
  • Connected: determining how to manage people and business in an age where everything is connected – both people and things – as is how to use this power for business and social good.
  • Personal: the blurring of the boundaries between business and personal or between private and public is already occurring. We need to develop cultural and organisational practices that understand and enable us to manage this blurring of boundaries.
  • Social: human beings are social animals.  The Taylorist world view that has coloured much management thinking in the twentieth century needs to change and reflect this truth.  Humans are not interchangeable widgets and we are not machines.  It is time business leaders and structures change to reflect the social nature of human and business interactions.

We need to find ways to move away from hierarchy and silos. We need to find ways to move towards meshes and webs of relationships.  These are more like the way human beings relate in nature anyway.  The entire bureaucratic venture has been an unnatural way of being for humans. Humans need to find a way to make business more human and less machine like.

It seems that social computing and hardware convergence could be the catalyst for us to change our ways of running businesses so that they better meet human needs and map to human social needs, while continuing to make profits.

Share

Operating systems are merely hygeine factors …

Share

Many people in the IT industry don’t realise that operating systems are not important to ordinary folks. We don’t want to be bothered with things that live under the surface of our devices.

This is one of the reasons Apple has made such inroads in recent years, they abstract the complexity away from users so nicely. It is also why Linux is starting to get a bit more traction, they’ve finally realised most people don’t want to fiddle with a command line to install things.

Usability is a critical feature for technology. Consumers are getting tired of technology that is hard to use. This feeling is bleeding over into the workplace too. Soon IT departments will find people rebelling against complex and hard to use systems. Their users will slip away to find SaaS applications that meet their needs and accept montly payments via corporate credit cards. Then what price the current obsession with centralisation and cost reduction my IT friends?

Share

Sydney’s inaugural Social Innovation BarCamp #sibsyd

Social Innovation Sydney
Share

Sydney’s inaugural Social Innovation BarCamp went well yesterday.

The day kicked off with an opening talk by the Hon. Bob Carr, who kindly gave his time to support this event.

Throughout the day we had some amazing networking and discussion sessions focused on creating sustainable futures and directing innovation towards social good.

We also had a lovely lunch sponsored by Cisco and coffee sponsored by AskHer.

I’m very grateful to everyone who helped out to make this event work, in particular my co-un-organisers  Selena Griffith and Michelle Williams.

There are already some amazing photos up in the Social Innovation BarCamp group on Flickr:

Share

Social media: blurring the boundaries

Share

In the past we used to be able to separate the public from the private and business from the personal quite easily. But this was an aberration.

Privacy was a tiny blip in the long history of human existence. Going back only as far as our great grandparent’s generation privacy was relatively rare. And in the generations before that privacy was considered almost absurd, even for the very rich.

Most people lived in small cramped houses and shared their space with many others. In those days even conjugal relations were not private for most people.

Most people lived in villages too, where just about everyone knew each other’s business. But for a very short period, during the mid to late twentieth century, privacy was possible in the western world due to a new standard of housing.

It was the post World War 2 housing – where each nuclear family had its own house – that made privacy possible. Finally Mum and Dad had personal space and sometimes even the kids had their own rooms. For a brief period in the twentieth century privacy became the norm.

But with the Digital Revolution in the early twenty first century we have made a return to the village. And this time the village is virtual.

This digital village means that the boundaries between public and private, business and personal are becoming increasingly blurred. I’ve taken to drawing them as a Venn diagram.

As we adopt the various social computing platforms in our personal lives – such as Facebook, Digg, Slideshare, YouTube, or Twitter – we blur the boundaries between public and private by our own making. Then, as companies and other organisations adopt the same technologies for business purposes and ask us to drive them, we begin the blur the boundaries between business and personal.

As a result we are turning into:

“ambient broadcasters who disclose a great deal of personal information in order to stay connected and take advantage of social, economic, and political opportunities.”

Source: www.webpronews.com/topnews/2010/07/09/millennials-won%E2%80%99t-quit-facebook-and-twitter” Mike Sachoff webpronews.com

And, by means of this broadcasting of our information, we are paying the social media platform providers through our data. These providers are not making their platforms available to us for free. They are doing it because our data is the goldmine of the twenty first century. We are paying them by giving away data about our lives, which are increasingly exposed online in the virtual village.
web 2.0This view of data as critical to the new internet (often called Web 2.0) was explained by Tim O’Reilly back in 2005 and is summarised nicely in this diagram by Ajit Jaokar.

And this new interactive and easier to use web is compelling to many of us. It enables us to do many things including:

  • Build friendships
  • Find and form communities
  • Seek or share help and expertise
  • Build reputations
  • Find out who is trustworthy and reputable
  • Do business and make money
  • Find jobs
  • Have fun

But let’s put all of this aside for a moment to consider human nature. And to start let’s consider an old saying:

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. ”
Source: Ecclesiastes 1:9-14

Thus one thing we need to keep in mind about this digital village we’re living in now is that no human behaviour happens online that does not already happen offline. What is different, however, is the the amplification effects of the web and the way that the medium facilitates amplified responses.

We’ve all seen the poor secretary somewhere who writes an email only have it go global almost overnight and then lose their job. That’s the amplification effect of the web. In the past that conversation might have got out to a small group of people via word of mouth. But now it truly can go global in a matter of hours.

And, while this digital village gives rise to an enormous number of benefits and opportunities, it also gives rise to some risks.

The three key risks I see are:

  • Reputation. The amplification effects of the web mean that news moves fast and bad news moves faster.  Thus while it has become easier and faster to build a reputation online, it is also easier for unflattering images and commentary to proliferate.After all how many times have you gone out with friends only to find the pictures are already up on Facebook or Flickr by the time you arrive home? Here is a great example of this phenomenon (no it’s not me in that picture 😉 ).
  • Job. The blurring between business and personal currently gives rise to a number of conflicts in the workplace.  Some employers frown upon online participation by their staff, others demand it of unwilling staff.In any case, we are still working out the boundaries for social media and social networking in business and the workplace. And, until we settle on the new norms, there are going to be some casualties.  I know several people who have lost jobs due to their online activity.
  • Personal safety. This risk is especially linked to the ease with which disputes can be amplified in the absence of physical interaction.There is much more effort involved to escalate a dispute if you have to walk over to someone’s house, knock on their door, ask their parents or partner if they are home, and then have a fight. But if there has been insults flung back and forth in the equivalent of a digital village square then physical action can seem to be a logical next step.An example of this is the tragic case of teens who escalated an argument online (effectively in public in the digital village). The result was one was killed due to a perceived loss of face.

This leads into the question of how we can mitigate these risks.

  • Use commonsense – if you wouldn’t disclose offline why do it online?
  • Trust your gut – if you are not comfortable doing something why do it?
  • Ask your friends
  • It’s just like the ‘real world’ so look for patterns
  • Be conscious of the power of amplification online and use that power wisely

The main thing is to:

Accept the changed landscape and plan accordingly

The human race has survived the advent of many revolutionary technologies – including the printing press, the telegraph, telephone, radio and television. Each was predicted to cause disaster to our kind and, miraculously, we appear to have survived. But, rather than the doom predicted, each of these technologies has opened up remarkable vistas of opportunity, wealth and social good for humankind.

I predict that we will adapt to the digital revolution and be as unable to imagine life without it as we can imagine life without the telephone.


Note: This post is based on a presentation at Social Media Women on 13 July 2010. The slides are up on Slideshare.

Share

Perhaps progress on the Telstra ADSL front?

Share

Received an email from Telstra Bigpond as follows the other day:

“Telstra realises that there has been a delay in responding to your enquiry and we would like to extend our apologies. Your email has now been received by our department and we have included a response to your email below.

If you would like to supply us with the phone number, including the STD area code, that you wish to have BigPond Broadband ADSL connected to, and address, we will be able to advise of ADSL availability on this line.
Yours sincerely,
Rick Palma
On behalf of Justin Milne
BigPond Customer Service Team”

I am waiting to see if anything positive comes of this, will continue to note progress here.

Share