NESTA's bright and all shiny-new curvaceous facilities in the City hosted yesterday's Uploading Innovation event.
Ridiculously over-subscribed. Thrilled to be there. I would expect nothing else from Steve Moore and the fantastic Policy Unplugged team. Their mission "Making sense of a complex world through little stories rather than grand narratives", describing themselves as the first social conference provider.
And Steve certainly delivers on the social. He appears to have the whole of
covered-politically, educationally, creatively, media-y. He would indeed be a nightmare if he wasn't quite so generous, bright and a laugh. Their events never fail to capture fantastically interesting people doing extraordinary things. And all with brilliant stories.
It's a great model and always inspires.
Yes, it was full of blokes. Charming,
fascinating, (sure Steve will correct this) overwhelmingly over 90% of
participants were men. I'm not complaining. Just observing and asking a few
I'm fascinated. Is it the concept of innovation? Or social media? Or web 2.0? Are women reluctant to engage with the technology or at least debate the merits and potential impact of the possibilities of connection?
Or did Steve just not invite many? And should it matter? And, if so, what am I going to do about it?
Blogging is addictive and has rejuvenated my reading. And it strikes me that women are supremely skilled at the art of conversation. We never stop... Will women only really dominate social (or as Seth's great descriptor-cat) blogs? If all ideas emerge from conversations surely women will be driving this new age of creativity? Women are, in my experience, supportive, natural co-creators and pool their collective intelligence. We've been doing it for centuries.
Or is the technology obstructive? Certainly many of the blogs I read look stunning and can intimidate. I know, I know, it's all about content but we live in such a visual age. Us girls often want it to just look fabulous.
I was tempted to host a conversation about this subject yesterday but the temptation of playing with Johnnie and James was far too seductive. Plus I would possibly perpetuate the reputation of being a bit of a whinger. Yes-I sat on my enthusiasm.
We can of course find examples of outstandingly erudite, informative, funny and visually stunning blogs. Kathy Sierra knocks us all out. Kathy is exceptional.
Who are we connecting to and with?
Johnnie Moore alerted me to Leonard Shlain’s book The Alphabet verses the Goddess. Yes Mark, Johnnie’s blog is definitely a case were quality equals quantity. Could this proposition be that the use of imagery and conversation fuel resurgence in feminism? Who knows...
All I know is that many of my professional women friends remain cynical. They would love to engage but lack the skills, time and find it still a bit geeky and blokey. Lucy’s question “does web 2.0 make the kids lunches” kind of sums up that eternal tension. We’d love to but it’s not right at the top of our priorities now.
What happens next is essentially our call.
Still- I had a great time. Met and chatted with some blogging superstars. Russell was as lovely as his writing implies. Mark Earls is an intellectual heavyweight and a nice guy too. His conversation about mass behaviour provoked a few. Mark's fascinating example of floral tributes “cellotaphs” to mark the death of Princess Diana rattled a few cages. A great example of copied behaviours and I'll certainly buy his new book, Herd. More specifically provided me with the biggest laugh of the day. How could he ever predict a pubic policy maker with responsibility for Royal Funerals to boot was in the room?
Brilliant. You couldn't script it.
You just never know who is listening. Or reading.