Archive for social-media
Since last fall, I’ve been working with Cognizant on their Women Empowered initiative, which has created a community for female executives interested in increasing workforce diversity — in particular, attracting, developing and promoting female employees. It has been gratifying work, yoking together research that I’ve done over the years about women and social media with Cognizant’s effort to increase the number of women in leadership positions in IT.
Although women are the key drivers of the social media revolution (you can check out my TED talk about this), several studies have indicated that women are reluctant to use their social networks – online or offline – to promote themselves professionally. Long before digital social networks became ubiquitous, research demonstrated that networking was essential to the job hunt: according to the Anita Borg Institute, jobs are more likely to be found through social networks, and women are less likely to get jobs through informal social networks or to receive unsolicited job offers, even after controlling for experience. Positions in fields that are male dominated – like so many tech fields – are more likely to see male referrals.
In the past, social networks usually negatively affected diversity, but that needn’t be the case anymore as more and more companies shift recruitment resources to social media networks, where, lo and behold, we find a population dominated by women who not only outnumber men but are more actively engaged in social sharing.
I recently spoke about these issues at a Cognizant Community for Women event in the heart of Silicon Valley, where, sadly, women make up four percent of senior management positions in technical and R&D departments. The room was filled with about 70 female professionals in IT. During a workshop with them, I had the opportunity to survey them, in real time, about how they use social media and, more specifically, what role it plays in their professional lives.
When asked whether they were reluctant about using social networks to promote themselves professionally, half said yes and half said no. But only 22% said that online social networking had ever helped them get a job or a promotion, even though a whopping 83% said they had helped others in their online networks do the same.
The room was aghast at the discovery, and as we talked about it as a group, it become more and more clear that some of the messages emerging from Sheryl Sandberg’s highly publicized Lean In campaign applied in spades to this distinguished group. Sandberg’s core argument – made quite forcefully at TEDWomen in 2010 – is that women often get in their own way, downplaying their professional strengths in order to conform to social norms about women being nurturing instead of aggressive.
It’s incredibly difficult to change culture, but that is the task before us. Sandberg suggests that a sea change may be in the works and there’s some evidence she might be right: according to TIME, 120 companies have already signed up as partners in the Lean In campaign.
My clever friend, Tim Leberecht, is a marketing guy and so he knows just how little control companies have over their brands. The reputation of a brand is basically what a brand is and no matter how much money you throw at it, ultimately, customers, and the general public, will determine a brand’s reputation.
In his TED talk, Tim explores how companies can productively cede control to their customers and employees as well as exerting new types of control and influence in creative new ways in social media contexts. I don’t want to give too much away — it’s only six minutes so check it out!
I was delighted when the editors of Women’s Studies Quarterly asked me to submit a piece to them about social media and gender. They had seen my TEDWomen talk on the same topic and suspected (correctly) that I’d be interested in pursuing those themes in print. They made another request as well: might I think of a way to add a visual component and a social media campaign of some sort?
Now that’s the kind of thing that takes a village. Thankfully, I have one! I immediately turned to the Lear Center’s terrific in-house designer, Veronica Jauriqui (who designed the visuals for two of my TED talks) and my trusty intern (and social media expert) Sarah Ledesma. Through Sarah we met the tremendously talented photographer Jasmine Lord, who immediately understood what we wanted (you can read about all of them here). I’m incredibly proud of the results, which you can check out on Pinterest and Tumblr.
Now for a little backstory: Read the rest of this entry »
April 30, 2012 at 11:35 am · Filed under film, jb exploits, online culture, TV, virtual worlds and tagged: entertainment, film festivals, gaming, media, social networking, social-media, technology, transmedia, tribeca film institute
Film festivals are tricky events to navigate. Of course they’re about art and commerce and, for some reason, all too many filmmakers are uncomfortable with that combination. Despite the entertainment industry’s craven reputation, there are plenty of people in it – not just indie movie types – who long for something pure: complex aesthetic objects that will transport people to new places and new ways of understanding this world and the many alternate realities we’ve crafted for ourselves. That idealism, and the understandable longing for money and attention to achieve that dream, is prominently on display at fests like Tribeca. And yes, a lot of it is about glad-handing and hitting as many cocktail parties as possible (as well as standing next to the right person at the red carpet premieres), but more and more these days, it’s also about figuring out how to make movies do that the networking for you. Filmmakers who’ve managed to crack the social media code have, indeed, mastered the twenty-first century art of networking.
I thought it was terrific that Tribeca devoted an entire day of the Fest to a conference on interactive media. The event was held in Frank Gehry’s gleaming IAC building, in front of an impossibly long wall of screens. The shallow wide room was packed from start to finish with a mix of digerati (I was thrilled to meet Christina Warren the entertainment editor for Mashable) and people who’ve been toiling in the traditional media trenches all their lives. The implicit goal was to figure out how to make sure that filmmakers learn how to adapt to an increasingly interactive media space – something more easily said than done. These days, film projects of all sizes are expected to have some sort of online presence, not only for the purpose of promotion but for something far more ephemeral: audience engagement. There are generally no accepted standards to measure the latter, but it usually means that you’ve managed to convince passive potential audience members to take an active role in promoting, extending, or even reimagining the film itself or its subject.
For all too many filmmakers, a transmedia campaign includes a basic formula: a Web site, a Twitter feed, a Facebook page and the coup de grace, an iPhone app. Much to the consternation of app developers like Michelle Byrd from Games for Change, creatives working in traditional media industries often assume that audience engagement just happens on these platforms: as long as you build it, someone will come. But take a quick look at all the apps you’ve installed and don’t use on your phone, and you’ll recognize that even scoring an install doesn’t necessarily lead to one iota of “engagement.”
Learning how to port linear, narrative art forms over to interactive platforms is a tremendous creative and technical challenge. Read the rest of this entry »