Johanna Blakley

Media | Entertainment | Fashion

I’m Speaking at TEDWomen!

At long last, TED has announced its line-up of speakers for its first ever TEDWomen event . . . and I’m still having a hard time believing that I’m part of the program! I’ll be in the same session as Donna Karan (!) but I suspect she won’t be talking about fashion, and I know for a fact that I won’t. When I first spoke with Pat Mitchell, the president of the Paley Center for Media and the host of TEDWomen, she assumed that I would give another talk about fashion. It was tempting . . . I adore the topic and there’s plenty to say about the relationship between women and fashion . . . but I resisted. I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed in the TED community as “the fashion gal” when I’ve got so many other juicy research interests.

Of course I immediately regretted my decision because it meant I had to come up with a talk that would be as entertaining and intriguing as the fashion talk, which I’d been refining and honing for several years. And it was relatively easy to make a good looking slideshow about fashion: good fashion is, by definition, pretty good looking.

But how do you make a slideshow about “social media” good looking? It’s the “phenomenon” that everyone’s talking about, but coming up with visuals that capture the spirit of social media is really hard. Bar charts that demonstrate the tremendous reach of social networking platforms may excite the statistically inclined among us, but for most people, they’re a bore.

Fortunately, I have three savvy women helping me out with this presentation — Marlene Vigil and Perry Johnson on research, and Veronica Jauriqui (my savior) working on the slides. I can’t imagine doing it by myself. Hillary was right. It takes a village.

Hopefully my counter-intuitive title, “Social Media & the End of Gender,” will suck them in. And I just added a slide about Mad Men — that should help, right?



  Debbie Weil wrote @

Great job yesterday with your TEDWomen talk here in DC! Heard you live via one of the local livestreaming events. The topic of social media, women and obliviousness of old media to the over-50 demographic is so important and provocative.

  johannablakley wrote @

Thanks so much! And congratulations on the Fast Company designation!

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