Patricia Wood's debut book, Lottery, isn't even out yet, but she's created a buzz that's gotten me to order a copy of it from Amazon nearly 5 months before it comes out. How has she done this? Well, one way is through blogging. I saw an entry on Miss Snark's blog about Lottery, which prompted me to go to Amazon, which led me to Patricia's blog, which...well, you get the picture.
During the SCBWI Conference lunch, I sat at the "YA Why Not" table, where I became the unpopular voice regarding kids and the internet. The general consensus was that the internet is a dark place, populated mostly by drooling pedophiles, and how should we get kids away from it. Eek. My stance was that the internet is a place full of possibilities. We need to make safe places for kids to go, and we can harness the internet to improve our own craft and create a more cohesive community among writers and readers. The three of them looked at me like they wanted me to stuff my sandwich in my mouth to shut me up. What can you expect from people who probably still have dial up...if that?
A group of Puget Sound area women writers have created a great web space for teen girl readers. Readergirlz is a web site moderated by Janet Lee Carey, Lori Ann Grover, Dia Calhoun, and Justina Chen Headley. Their manifesto is all about having serious fun while talking about books. The site delivers all kinds of fun for teen girls. Music, art, videos, and books!
If adults are getting into blogging, imagine where kids are with it. They're always a few steps ahead of us when it comes to technology. A web site such as Readergirlz makes me tingle all over. It's just the kind of thing I like to see. Harnessing technology to create a place for teen girls is so very way cool.
Having worked in the tech field and being a card carrying member of the Anita Borg mailing list, Systers, I am concerned about the challenges women face entering into technical fields. Most of the problems women face in tech fields is so insidious and ambiguous. Yet, if you frequent a women's forum on technology for any length of time, you will find that we face a barrage of prejudice and resistence regarding our presence which we are struggling, ourselves, to address and define. Such a large part of the abuse women endure involves being told that we are over reacting or imagining things, it is not surprising to find that we question, amongst ourselves, the validity of our perceptions. Through the use of blogs, public abuse of women who attain any level of success is prevelant and has received a lot of press lately. The Washington Post published an article today describing all of the facets of this complex issue.
Which brings me back to girls and technology. Women are here to stay in the tech world. We need to stand our ground and not allow intimidation tactics to push us away. Kids are going to find their way through the world, with or without our guidance, and the internet is going to be a part of that path. Girls need to have a place on that path where they don't have to fight just to be there. We writers can position ourselves along that path and make their journey richer.