I was on Science Friday yesterday with Claire Evans, author Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet. As usual, I am so much more comfortable talking about anything but myself. Afterwards I was cringing for hours, thinking about all the things I should have said. It’s hard to be articulate on the spot. For me anyway. Claire was amazing.
Walking home I thought of how I should have answered Ira’s last question about anonymity. The fact that not having anonymity on Echo worked, while it’s not working as well on Facebook is a reflection of a broader (and ugly) cultural change in this country, and how we talk to each other in general now. But it’s also because we managed a greater level of intimacy on Echo. Not just because we are smaller, although that certainly helped. The fact that most users were and are local made it possible for people go together in person, so we were and are even less anonymous. But I think it was mostly because of the hosts/moderators, the presence of so many women, and luck. Conversations were exciting, moving, funny, and everyone wanted to preserve that. It was in our own best interest to be a little less asshole-ish.
You can listen to the interview here.
The charming and gracious Ira Flatow. My picture of Claire came out slightly out of focus, alas.