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Archive for August, 2014
29 Aug

Change the ratio! But I’m auditing myself first

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NOTE: A version of this post ran on PBS MediaShift on Oct. 10, 2014. Lessons Learned from a #GenderAudit on Twitter

If I follow you on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve have added you to a Twitter list: Male or Female.

There’s also a private list for People of Color*.

Before you freak out, let me explain what I am trying to do.

A few weeks back I heard a great segment on On The Media with Buzzfeed writer Katie Notopoulos, who created a holiday called Unfollow a Man Day. The piece originally aired on the tl;dr podcast.

Check it out:

This ‘holiday’ came from Notopoulos’ decision from realizing she was following a ton of dudes on Twitter, rather than other females.

She explains it here: Why I Created The #UnfollowAMan Movement

Anyway, that got me thinking… for about a year, I have consciously been trying to diversify who I follow on Twitter.

I never want to be caught in an echo chamber, and I have learned that I get a beneficial edge when I hear outside voices, instead of hearing the same people from within the journalism industry.

But while my diverse follow was a conscious act, I still don’t know if I have struck the right balance.

So, why not find out?

And that’s where these lists come it.

By going through the 960+ people I follow and doing an inventory, I can achieve a couple of things:

1- What is my actual ratio? If I am preaching diversity and parity, am I practicing it too? I don’t know, and that’s what I am looking to find out. This self-experiment really is an audit.

2- In the interview with Notopoulos, she said she realized that some stories that were seen as newsworthy coming from “Twitter buzz,” were only a buzz for men. Meaning, because she followed dudes, dudes’ topics dominated. For me, inversely, I want to see what topics are not buzzing in my stream… or who is it buzzing with.

There is such a thing as Black Twitter. Latino Twitter, non-English Twitter… but most users don’t know (or care) because they follow people and communities they know… or reflect their experiences.

Side note: I wrote this post at 11:30PM-ish, because some people were weirded out by being added to a list. And one person, I feel, began to project some assumptions on what I am trying to do… hence this quick post.

But, let me be clear… just like Twitter, this is for me. I use Twitter for a tool that benefits my knowledge. And now I am using Twitter lists to benefit me as well. I am dying to know the results of this self-imposed audit and see if I can spot any patterns. I am coming in with NO ASSUMPTIONS, open to whatever results may come.

And, for the record, I don’t care if this is scientific or not. This is me grouping subjective follows along gender lines and see if anything emerges. I’m a hackademic, not an academic.

Now, after reading this post, I want to invite/challenge you to do the same thing. Find out if your stream is skewed by following one community more than another… hell, find out if you have a bias. Let me know if you try this thing… and, of course, feel free to share your thoughts on what I am doing. I’m trying to be open and transparent… and I am coming with good intentions.

UPDATE: At 12:21AM, I renamed my lists to be Gender Audit Proj: Female and Gender Audit Proj: Male, to be clearer on what I am doing.

NOTE: I started this “self-experiment” late this evening on a whim… and my brain is turning into mush as I add *everyone* to a list… so I assume I have made some errors. If you spot one, please let me know… thank you!

* The People of Color list is currently set to private, because there is a chance I add or leave out someone accidently and I don’t mean to offend.

// UPDATE & ADDITION (5/14/15)
A student recently told me about TWEE-Q, which analyzes which gender you retweet more. If you think about, having a balanced gender feed is a great step, but how you engage with the feed is an important metric.

What’s the point of following a balance if you only engage with one side?

So, I ran my Twitter name through the web app and got this result:
Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 10.49.04 AM

“@webjournalist retweeted 48% men and 52% women.” I am proud of this result!

// OTHER AUDITS
Feel free to tweet me your audit results as well!

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

12 Aug

Running for ONA Board reelection

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In the four years I have served on the board, ONA has gone through some significant changes. And while I serve alongside some of the industry’s best and brightest leaders, I – humbly – would like to think I’ve played an active role in the organization’s positive changes.

During my time, I have tried to truly represent the diversity of our needs as members, from different skillsets to different backgrounds.

ONA is the one journalism conference that brings diversity in digital together. Whether we do social media or data or multimedia storytelling or something emerging, ONA brings us together in the hopes of sharing our knowledge and experiences with one another. ONA believes in the strength found in the sharing of our differences.

My work reflects this core mission:

  1. Teaching professors how they can be more digital, by co-teaching at Poynter’s Teachapalooza.
  2. Outside of my classroom, talking to students as a keynote for Journalism Association of Community Colleges and Associated Collegiate Press conference.
  3. With colleagues, recently re-launching the Diversify Journalism Project, which is on a mission to eliminate the we-can’t-find-a-digital-journalist-of-color excuse.
  4. #wjchat, more than four years old, continues to bring people together to nerd out about what we do. One recent highlight was an international edition with ONA Jerusalem.
  5. Sharing my work, most recently with my Glass Journalism class. No, I’m not a Glasshole. I’m a nerd that is putting on this dorky looking supercomputer on my face in the name of journalism… and sharing via Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress and IRL meetups.

What’s the point of gaining knowledge if you don’t share it? What’s the point of having access, if you don’t bring others with you? What’s the point of being part of an organization if your not actively participating?

With that in mind, I’d like to declare my candidacy for re-election.

And I’d like to call on you to do one simple act: participate.

How? Step one: vote.

I don’t care if you vote for me or for one of the other amazingly candidates are running, but please vote.

In addition to voting: Speak up.

Using your voice to express what you want from ONA is vital to the organization’s future and relevance.

Lastly: Act.

Don’t be on the sidelines simply complaining about or just benefiting from this community. Give back. In fact, take over. This is yours.

I’m asking for your vote.

I’m asking you for your voice.

I’m asking you to act.

This organization works for me. As a board member, I work for you. As a whole, this community works for us. I am proud and honored to have had a seat at the table shaping how this community grows and develops.

There is still more work to be done. I’d like to continue to help.

Categories: Journalism, ONA Tags: ,
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