With the supposed death of journalism looming over media junkies worldwide, it’s easy to wave off plenty of media innovations as passing fads while we mourn our shrinking paychecks or lost jobs. But there’s a new kid on the block that I’m ridiculously excited about– Symbolia, a new magazine for comics journalism. I’m biased about this particular innovation on two fronts: I’m a comics nerd & artist myself (a new collection of stories from me is due out Spring 2013), and Symbolia’s creator, Erin Polgreen, has been a friend and co-conspirator since our days in the independent media movement in the US. But with its launch on Monday, Symbolia has accomplished two major feats: elevated the status of illustrated, sequential art as a form in a neglected space, and created a new space for us to reimagine what journalism can look– and feel– like. [Start now: download Symbolia for iPad from iTunes, or get thePDF version.]
In the myriad of things to be thankful for on this fine American holiday: family, friends, home, the ongoing generosity of volunteers continuing to push through to provide mutual aid in the ongoing devastation of Hurricane Sandy. But, I also wanted to take a moment to share some of the mobile goodies that make my life just a little bit easier, make me smile a little more and make things in the DZ operation run just a little smoother. Enjoy your turkey/tofurkey!
Nerds in the aftermath of Sandy sprang into action: We’ve seen some innovative technology solutions address many aspects of the fallout of the storm. It got me poking around at what’s working and what isn’t, and starting to look at communications solutions we can start to put in place before the next storm, disaster, revolution or what-have-you.
The Valise Society salon that my friend Tobias hosted for me in Berlin was covered by one of Germany’s largest weekly publications, DIE ZEIT, in their print publication. (I also spoke at their new online newsroom and had a Google hangout with them while I was in Berlin.) English translation follows.
BlogHer, that fabulous and conveniently named network and conference of women who are bloggers, hosts a yearly day long career development day called Pathfinder Day. This year, on August 2nd, I’m leading the Change Agent track with Cheryl Contee. We promise, one way or another, your life will be changed if you come spend a day with us. Hee.
Normally the registration is $79 ($79!! What a bargain!), but BlogHer knows that that’s steep for many women who could really use this time to figure out their next steps in their online careers. So, they’ve given us each 2 passes to give away– if you’re interested, leave a comment on this post below, and I’ll pick 2 women at random. You don’t have to leave your life story or anything, but if you’re not someone I normally travel with in my circles, it’d be great to learn a little about why you’d like to attend, and why a free pass would be extra useful for you.
Otherwise, if you can swing it, and you’re ready, join us on August 2nd.
That’s right! Me, who never wins anything! Planned Parenthood awards all kinds of designations each year, and for my work on Planned Parenthood Saved Me, they’ve given me their first-ever 2012 Social Media award. I’m honored!
Here are the remarks I shared at the award luncheon today:
First, thank you Planned Parenthood, not only for your health care and advocacy, but for championing women without fail, with what seems like without compromise. That’s rare in our political climate. Planned Parenthood has successfully negotiated that emotional connection we all feel to the work they do, whether that’s through their clinics or their advocacy, and turned it into a relationship. They’ve embraced social media, both their own properties and the wider world’s conversations.
But also, I’m sharing this award with all the women who shared their stories on Planned Parenthood Saved Me. It’s a crying shame that we live in a world where this is an act of bravery, but that’s what it was. The women that said, “I would have bled to death if it weren’t Planned Parenthood,” or “Planned Parenthood’s staff were the only people who understood me after I was assaulted,” or “Planned Parenthood found my cancer.” That’s what you do. That is your work, and we thank you.
Which is the last thing I want to share– I really want people to understand that PP Saved Me blew up not because Rachel Maddow read from it on her show, or that it was in the Washington Post and a dozen other major major outlets. More than half the traffic to the site came before any major media mention, and that traffic came from Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr.
Women sharing their stories with one another made the difference her. Our stories matter, more than ever.
If you want to learn more about how the Planned Parenthood Saved me campaign worked, check out this 10-minute talk I gave at Personal Democracy Forum: “Don’t Mess with Our Boobs: Ad-Hoc Networks and Online Power.“
There is no such thing as a pure meritocracy.
Every few months, it seems like, when the Internet gets its big knickers on and does something righteous, invariably, someone somewhere gets up on a stage and declares that anyone, if the idea is good enough, can be successful on the Internet. Whether that’s a business plan, a political campaign or a cultural meme: you, too, can make it big. It’s our American rugged individualism, intertwined with what looks like an open digital frontier, all packaged up into an utopian bliss for the new century.
What’s true is that more people than ever have access to information, tools and networks that make things happen. And while the news often covers the darker sides of connective technologies like the Internet and mobile devices becoming mainstream, there’s plenty of good to celebrate. Look at just this past week in Internet do-gooding: A video showing a school bus monitor being gut-wrenchingly harassed by 13-year-old boys until she cried sparked a fundraising campaign for her, one that’s now reached over $650,000.
Where things go awry in the analysis of these kinds of situations is two-fold: one, that there is a secret to making something “go viral” (short answer: there isn’t), and two, anyone can create explosive story at any time if the story has merit. If you’re good enough and smart enough, doggone it, people will like you. And you will win the Internet.
Canada! You like me, you really like me. After my appearance on CBC Connect last night, CBC Radio got in touch to schedule a bunch of local radio interviews with me today. Some of these will be live, and some are taped (no idea which are which), but if you’re tuning in today, as is your patriotic Canadian duty, you might hear me talking about crowdfunding in the wake of the Karen Klein bullying story.
(All times Eastern)
Paul Castle – Host
Allison Devereux – Host
Alan Neal – Host
Laura diBattista – Host
Stephen Quinn – Host
Larry Updike – Host
Dave White – Host
Cathy Alex – Producer/Host, Voyage North
Jo-Ann Roberts (Host)
Exciting news! The editors of ForbesWoman approached me about contributing a regular column to their site, which is part of the larger Forbes.com network of content. It’s called “Prospect: Tech” and I’ll be covering all my usual beats: technology, activism, politics and, of course, women. It feels kind of like Bizarro world when someone like Forbes contracts a person like me, and I’m really thrilled to have this platform.
My first post is up: “How Internet Rage Is Making Tech Culture a Better Place.” Here’s an excerpt:
It was a banner weekend for gender-washing on the Internet. First up: an otherwise decent article in the New York Times on Ellen Pao’s discrimination suit — a lawsuit that’s threatening to shake up Silicon Valley bro culture, thankfully — started out by erasing women’s contributions to the birth of the Internet. “Men invented the Internet.” Line 1, paragraph 1. Men.
But the Internet and its consciousness are smarter than the average Timesarticle, and when Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing blogged about this gaffe, and then shared that post on Twitter, she was inundated with responses documenting women’s contributions to both creating the Internet and computing in general.