Friday, December 16, 2005

The Gender Divide in Blog Civility

Greetings, Sisters...TypePad Refugee/Evacuee/Disaster Victim checking in...

Well, this is one way of hustling myself on to Blog Sisters - begging Sister Roxanne to set me up with posting privileges while TypePad does its damndest to recover fifty bazillion posts from fifty bazillion blogs that were lost during "routine maintenance". I'm fancying this may be Mena Trott's revenge - I told you people to behave yourselves on your blogs! Bullshit, indeed! But, it's likely just some exotic server issue that only a deep geek can grok.

Let's circle back to the aforementioned business about Mena Trott, co-founder of Six Apart, homebase for TypePad, Moveable Type and Live Journal bloggers. You'll see I linked to the le beeg hoo-haa at Les Blogs in Paris a week ago or so. Mena spoke on the urgent need for Blog Civility. Adjacent to Mena, the back channel, the IRC chat that runs as an undercurrent to the meeting, was projected and rolling along. One Ben Metcalf, 'bullshit' link above, typed in the aforementioned one word condemnation, 'bullshit'. Mena saw the BS word showing up on the back channel and called him on it, pronouncing him an "asshole". Then she summoned him from the crowd and demanded that he explain himself, which he did, actually in an articulate manner. Both Mena and Ben later had a sit down then did a soul shake or something equally congenial and walked into the sunset and a whole lot of buzz and snark on the blogs (aforementioned 'revenge' link).

Now, you knew about all that. If you don't, then you're doing a great job minding your own business and attending to the excellent wordsmithing on your own blog. But, if you're nosy like me, in keeping up with this issue, you'll note that the snark directed at Mena was from males. Men. Guys. Dudes. I have not seen one female blogger and/or commenter taking Mena to snarky task on her response to Ben Metcalf.

Perhaps this is all so very Men from Mars, Women from Venus, but I can't help but compare this snark slinging to what we have understood from John Ford westerns - that the gender division in the American frontier was characterized with the men folk in bar room brawls, shoot outs and testosterone poisoined with general bad behavior and the women folk, setting up the town churches, schools and modeling general good behavior.

I can't imagine this Les Blogs business going down at BlogHer. The closest we got to bad manners at last year's inaugural meeting was when someone asked the mommybloggers to extend their blogging beyond stories about their kids and this was smacked down in the nicest possible way by a famous mommyblogger who rallied the whole conference by reminding all that "mommyblogging is a radical act." The point was well taken and Technorati did not go all neon with a blitz of finger wagging posts on this exchange.

All of this will be explored in a grand manner at the upcoming South by Southwest Interactive Media confab in March. Nancy White, respected communications consultant and admitted chocolate addict, will be leading the panel which will include the gracious company of Bill White(update 12-21-05 - I MEANT Bill Anderson! Sorry, Bill) , Koan Bremner, Tish Grier and your new Blog Sister, me. At this talk, I'm not going to be shy about tossing the gender issue into the mix. As for the back channel rolling on a screen behind us, I say 'bring it' as I will welcome any living, breathing examples of what/what not to do in our discourse.

Until the meeting, your thoughts on blog conduct are respectfully solicited right here, or, at my little corner of the web, I Am Dr. Laura's Worst Nightmare.

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