women@tech continued

Stephanie Hendrick setting up the university women@tech station:


Read more about this project and the associated blog at http://blog.humlab.umu.se/womenintech/. This afternoon live blogging will happen in two places in Umeå. Also people all over the world can participate through posting flickr photos, commenting on the blog and submitting articles and content to Stephanie. Here is the flickr stream.


Recently there has been a lot of talk about gender and technology, and even though we have a few markers on our path to gender equality – from schools encouraging young girls’ interest in science and mathematics to the great women at misbehaving.net– this is still an issue that needs further exploration. We have not even reached a halfway point yet!


Wednesday the 8th of March is International Women’s Day. On the eve of this day many women will blog in support of women’s rights. We, at HUMlab, will liveblog the experience of being a woman from two stations, one on the university campus and one in downtown Umeå. We will attempt to capture ‘being a woman’ through audio, text, picture, collaborative sidewalk art, as well as giving women a change to blog in their own words. There is a twist, however! You get the chance to participate by sending in your digital pictures to our flickr account. The theme is, of course, ‘on being a woman’. Each picture submitted to the following address will be tagged ‘mobloggingwomen’ and can be found in our flickr slideshow (link to be added). The event will be kicked off by liveblogging the seminar, Att ta plats och äga rum. Hur kan kroppar förlängas genom digitala artefakter? – en spekulation i seminarieform, by HUMlab’s own Jennie Olofsson who will give a seminar on Tuesday the 7th at 13:15 in the lab. (You can watch the live stream here – link will activate at the beginning of the seminar). The live blogging downtown will occur on the 8th beginning at 12 noon.

The email address to send in photos is strong92easy@photos.flickr.com

One question we are particularly interested in exploring is ‘how has technology changed your experience of being a woman?’ This is especially topical in light of the recent violent incidents we have had in our little town. For example, do you use your cell phone when walking home alone- as a ‘virtual walk home’? Do you consider your cell phone a way for others to control you/your time? How has constant connection (through IM, email, SMS, etc.) changed the way you interact in your environment?

Our liveblogging ‘being a woman’ will also serve to kick off our new blog, women@tech, which will discuss gender issues and technology. My hope is that women will come together and begin a discourse that will encourage other women and young girls to participate in an exciting and ever-changing medium. Together we can breakdown the ‘invisible firewall’ one megabyte at a time!

cross posted from women@tech

Future Search


Last weekend at Khandala, there were many birds in the trees that I couldn’t recognise and put a label to. I wished my dad was there – he probably knows every species. As I was about to doze off this afternoon, I remembered one such bird I did manage to capture in a not-so-clear photograph.


Made me think, and I know it might sound crazy, but what fun if I could place an image or audio clip into a search box, which returned a whole host of links (like they do with text) that matched the image or audio clip. Is anything like this available today – i just read about Podzinger … interesting … but this is different.


Connected Marketing and Web 2.0


I’m thrilled to be guest blogging here for the next couple of weeks. As I told Stephanie, I’ve been awfully bad about blogging lately, I’m hoping this spurs me out of the inertia. I’ll be cross-posting at Humlab and Conversations with Dina during these two weeks. Here’s one for starters …

This is an extract from an excerpt of the book Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution by Justin Kirby and Paul Marsden (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005):

“In the US, NOP (now GfK) research shows that 92% of Americans cite word of mouth as their preferred source of product information. Advertising company Euro RSCG has found that when it comes to generating excitement about products, word of mouth is 10 times more effective than TV or print advertising.8

Why should this be? Why should word of mouth connections become even more important in influencing buying behavior in an age when media formats and channels are proliferating? The answer has five facets:

1 New personal communications technologies and digital media such as blogs, instant messaging, mobile telephones, email, online review sites, and personal Web sites are increasing the speed, reach, and utility of word of mouth. Digital media’s capabilities in turbo-charging the viral spread of information means that well-planned and well-executed connected marketing initiatives—particularly those that integrate more traditional marketing communications techniques in their activities—can help business messages reach the mass market in a way that would require a significant investment if left to more traditional techniques alone.

2 Increased marketing literacy among buyers means people increasingly dismiss traditional marketing campaigns as biased “propADganda.” Instead, they turn to trusted word of mouth sources for advice.

3 Acute advertising clutter is making it increasingly difficult for traditional marketing campaigns to break through and capture people’s attention. To avoid the advertising cacophony, buyers turn to their friends for word of mouth recommendations.

4 Accelerating media fragmentation is shrinking media audiences; more channels, more media are making it harder for advertisers to find and reach their target markets through traditional marketing campaigns.
New ad blocking technology is empowering people to skip, stop, or avoid unwanted advertising messages and interruptive marketing campaigns.

5 Today, consumers are more involved than ever before in controlling communications and message delivery at a global level. And many brands are now finally realizing that “the most powerful selling of products and ideas takes place not marketer to consumer but consumer to consumer.”9

I’ve been mulling over questions for marketers, advertisers and agencies to get them to start thinking of Social Media built around the principles of Web 2.0:

How can you make your customers your marketers? What is your strategy to adopt new forms of communication and collaboration that both enable and enhance consumer participation in your brand? How can you empower them to believe they trust you and can make a difference? How can you make them your brand ambassadors and evangelists? How is this trust and loyalty built in an open environment where you and they ‘play’ together? How can you make your market a conversation in ways traditional media has failed?

There is a third space that is evolving – the social web. It is changing how we ‘consume’ brands and promises. And its not just restricted to the desktop – it is mobile too. Jay Rosen articulates this so well – “Jay Rosen said something terribly important that (imo) went over the heads of most people in the room. He said the nature of authority is changing in our culture, and that this directly impacts all media. He used the example of a person who goes to the doctor and gets a prescription for an ailment. The doctor explains how the medication will work. The patient then proceeds to the drugstore and receives the medicine, along with (perhaps) an explanation from the pharmacist about how the medicine will work. But then the patient goes home and gets on the internet to research the thoughts of others who’ve used the medicine to discover what THEY think about how it works, and this impacts the doctor’s authority. The doctor is still the doctor, but gone is the automatic acceptance of his or her words as gospel.”

Are there other questions or issues you think that I might add?

web 2.0

Billy Marius to Speak at Sámi Week

Next week here in Umeå is Sámi Week (Swedish website). The week is filled with activities, performances, discussions and exhibitions centred on the Sámi people of Sapmi. Our own Billy Marius will be speaking at 15:30 Monday 6th March at Bio Abelli, Västerbottens Museum. The theme for the day is Indigenous People in International Cooperation and Billy will be speaking on his HUMlab project “An experimental dialogue between Sámi and Pygmy People”. It is an open event so all are welcome.

Guest Blogger: Dina Mehta

I am proud and excited to introduce our next guest blogger, Dina Mehta! Based in Mumbai, India, Dinah runs her own consultancy firm called Explore Research & Consultancy, travels the country exploring how ICT can bring about social change in rural areas, as well as actively uses technology to change conditions around the world (TsunamiHelp Blog, KatrinaHelp, QuakeHelp). I think Dina’s own description of the beliefs which drive her are a fitting description:

“abundance”, a philosophy that suggests, ‘share-learn-grow’, optimism about the future, and stretch that is implicit in a philosophy that says YesAnd!

I have not (yet) met Dina in person, but have read her blog for quite some time. I am excited about her contribution to our blog and am looking forward to meeting her outside the blogosphere!

Technological texture revisited

The Swedish multidisciplinary scientific journal on digital media, HumanIT, has a new issue out. Two of the articles included build on presentations that were given at the Technological Texture conference that took place here in HUMlab in January last year: Lena Karlsson on “Acts of Reading Diary Weblogs”, and Eva Kingsepp on “Immersive Historicity in World War II Digital Games”. In the editorial, Mats Dahlström reflects on the conference and the current state of Swedish digital humanities. International readers will be happy to hear that this issue is all in English.

(Notes from the Technological Texture conference can be found in our archive from January 2005.)