Feminism 2.0

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The idea of Web 2.0 may be a new concept to you — it was to me when our new Executive Director mentioned it to me last summer.  It refers to all of the new technologies available on the internet, including Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.  It essentially takes the existing internet and makes it more dynamic and enables faster, briefer communication.  However, it’s constantly evolving and new tools are arising all the time.

I went to this interesting conference today called Feminism 2.0.  I also blogged about it for work here.  Sitting in sessions surrounded by women who are contributing authors on 7 or 8 blogs (often in addition to holding down full-time jobs, having partners, and having children), I felt like a complete slacker.  We can hardly manage to update our blog monthly, much less multiple times a day.  But it was really interesting to hear about all of the different blogs that exist, and also to see what all of these blogs mean in the grander scheme of the internet.  For instance, if a blogger can get lots of other bloggers to link to her site and if she also links back to those sites, she increases her standing in the internet rankings.  This might not be news to all, but even more interesting is a map of a small segment of the blogosphere that’s available here (you have to type in a username and password, which are available at that link).  The yellow dots represent some of the more popular feminist blogs.  If you click on a dot, you can see which blogs the blogger links to, and which blogs link to her.  (I think green lines are outgoing links, red are incoming links, and yellow are bidirectional links.)  The tool was even more elaborate than this — he was able to show the position and linkages between these feminist blogs and conservative and liberal blogs, which shows the number of feminist blogs that are able to get their ideas into more mainstream blogs.  Not surprisingly, almost all the links went to and from progressive liberal sites.  He was also able to show which types of blogs (conservative vs. liberal) had the largest share of posts about certain topics — reproductive rights, violence against women, economic justice, etc.  All of these metrics are extremely useful for planning and messaging purposes (although unfortunately not all are available at the link above because they are proprietary).

As I sat at the conference, I thought about the blogs that we link to and the blogs that our friends link to.  And I started to get really interested in ways that my friends who blog regularly can get their ideas heard by wider audiences.  As I said before, this isn’t news to most of you.  But if it is, and if you want more info, let me know and I can share anything else I learned.  In the meantime, I look forward to checking out some of these new blogs.  Who knows…we might have a new blogroll coming soon.

I haven’t totally drunk the Kool-Aid, though.  I still think Twitter is stupid and having people’s “tweets” displayed on a huge screen behind the presenters was extremely distracting and detracted from the presentations.  Either my brain isn’t big enough to process so many stimuli or a bunch of people think they’re engaged in things when really they’re not.  Or maybe a little of each…

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