March 15, 2008

I'm Not Reading and Engaging With Enough Female Bloggers

One of the more interesting byproducts out of Wednesday's post highlighting some of the more name-brand bloggers using FriendFeed was a number of responses saying that my subjective list of who was "elite" and who wasn't was overly weighted with male bloggers. Of my initial list of 42, I only had 2 women! And no, that doesn't sound right to me either.

Susan Mernit (FriendFeed Link) was the first to point out the discrepancy in her post "Friendfeed and the Stalkerati", where she wrote, "I was irked that Gray's A list of thirty-plus has just two women; on other hands, it's really a list of bloggers he reads, it's really no big deal--even if one if them seems to be a friend he keeps promoting." (I assume the friend is Corvida of SheGeeks, who I have mentioned 3-4 times in the last week.)

And yesterday, Stephanie Booth (FriendFeed Link) took things a big step forward when she wrote, "FriendFeed Appeals to Women, Too!", recognizing the imbalance and posting a list of 16 female bloggers, along with their FriendFeed links. Very cool.

Tamar Weinberg of Techipedia also e-mailed me, voicing similar concerns. (Her FriendFeed is here) Tamar also writes for Lifehacker, and she joined Mashable in February.

I've been thinking quite a bit about this, starting immediately following Susan's first note. And I believe there is no question that those I follow on FriendFeed or follow on Twitter, or those who write the RSS feeds I subscribe to, are predominantly men, even though the author's gender shouldn't impact my content consumption. It could be due to the subjects I follow. It could be chance. I'm not sure.

When putting together the initial list, I knew I couldn't get everybody. I remember looking for a FriendFeed account for Kristen Nicole of Mashable, and didn't find one, after having found accounts for her colleagues, Mark Hopkins, Pete Cashmore and Adam Ostrow, each of whom was included in my post. I couldn't find an account for Kara Swisher or Heather Harde of TechCrunch or Erin Gurney of Ballhype either. I had also considered including Jess Lee (Blog | FriendFeed) and Niniane (Blog | FriendFeed), who I engage with a lot on the site, but I opted not to, feeling their blogs were more weighted to personal blogs instead of tech blogs.

A quick scan of the TechMeme leaderboard doesn't exactly shout out women's names. While there are female reporters at most, if not all, of the major blog networks, those individual blogs that have floated to the top include people like Robert Scoble, Mathew Ingram, Jason Calacanis and Steve Rubel. And it's quite likely my reading list is just as male-dominated.

So, with that said, I'm hoping to get better here. My mom blogs. My wife blogs. Women everywhere are blogging, but it's obvious there's an imbalance in the way I consume tech news, and in the way I reported who's influential. And if you know of some fantastic tech bloggers carrying the "XX" chromosome, whether they are on FriendFeed or not, please post them in the comments so I can add them to my RSS feeds, and get them a little more exposure.