October 13, 2008

Silicon Valleywood?

By Mona Nomura of Pixel Bits (FriendFeed/Twitter)

Cyndy Aleo-Carreira just posted a great piece about women in tech and how we shouldn't sell ourselves short. I would expand on that, but haven't been around tech bloggers and journalists long enough to give an informed two cents.


I have been in IT for a while. Quickly approaching 10(!) years, to be exact. Wow. Heck back when I started, it was so uncool to be in tech -- even employed by a well known software corporation. My friends made fun of me, my work place was male dominated with the geekiest / nerdiest but brightest engineers. (Think worn out, raggedy dingy white t-shirts and too tight stone washed jeans.)

Fast forward to today, IT is definitely not what it used to be.

Geeks are no longer just white T-shirts with jeans, there's now a "scene", and even a gossip rag! Since becoming fairly active in Social Networks and especially being based in SF, I've been invited to countless Tweet-ups, and parties. Cyndy pinpoints the exact reason I choose not to go. I may be unfamiliar with the blogger / social network / entreprenuer circle, but definitely not new to partying. I've been there, done that, and very aware of what people assume upon first meeting me. I refuse to fall in the: "gaining notoriety by what I'm wearing or who I'm dating rather than gaining respect for my knowledge and insight" category. I am also 100% with Cyndy on how "we (women) don't need to sell out to make it in tech".

That said, I don't see tech turning into a mini-Hollywood a problem.

Within every subculture, there is always sub-categorizing -- just like school. I really thought once I finished schooling, the in-crowd vs nerds / geeks vs weirdos, etc., would be done with it. I don't know about you, but I still deal with all the things I hated about school on a daily basis. Think about it: from our workplaces, social circles, online communities, to even within our own families, it surrounds us everywhere! At least now as adults, it's easier to not get involved or care (at least for me), but that doesn't mean it's nonexistent.

So for the tech scene to have its own mini-Hollywood means the tech circle is growing larger. With that, comes the array of labels, sub categories, and classifications and I couldn't be happier. I love tech and everything tech related, so the expansion and growth is welcomed!

Now, it's up to us.

Us being anyone who blogs, reads blogs, or active members in Social Networks, to change with the way the industry is changing. Especially, since data is democratizing. Whether you're a blogger, a reader, a commenter, content provider -- however which way you want to participate, we have more and more choices to read who we want to read, listen to who we want to listen to, and "follow" who we want to follow. Data is no longer consolidated and centralized like it once was, and moving forward we're only going to get even more choices. Hence, it's up to us.

After all, just like Hollywood, the tech starlets, groupies, and wannabe starlets wouldn't be a part of the mini-Hollywood if it weren't for an audience, right?

Read more by Mona Nomura at Pixel Bits.