Dr. Sadie Plant, Director of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit at University of Warwick/UK and Ellen Ullman is my favorite women scientist. She has been ever since 2002, when I adopted her famous 'Weaving' metaphor for my B.A. graduation project in Social Science.
The Future Looms: Weaving Women and Cybernetics (Plant, S. 1995. Body and Society1 3-4, 45-64) suggests the Surfing metaphor we used for describing what most people were doing online during the early and mid nineties is not suitable for women. A better word to describe online feminine activity would be, according to Plant, Weaving. Women are weavers of social connections. they were made and trained to have informal social connections and networks.
In this fantastic article Plant reviews the role women had in the development of weaving technology and how this technology influenced the development of computers. In addition, as women are historically used to an "Invisibility" status they are at an advantage when it comes to cyberculture. "the roundabout, circuitous connections with which women have always been associated and the informal networking at which they have excelled now become protocols for everyone". (p.144)
Today, while reading Cooper's Rape “Hilarious”? A danse macabre (Wonderland or Not) I suddenly realized Sadie Plant has anticipated the age of conversation and the change towards citizen media and social networking about ten years before they all happened.
If you are not into reading academic publications you might want to check out on this email conversation between Sadie Plant, Laura Miller, a senior editor at the Internet magazine Salon, and a software engineer named Ellen Ullman about the changes technology is working on our lives and how those changes affect women.
From where we stand today Plant claim that "people who think they have all the cultural power can be taken by surprise" by the Internet might look obvious but note this was published in September 1997 when we had to dial up to out Internet with our 14,400kbps modems. All right. enough of that for today. I have been weaving all morning and my wife is already back with Carmel. I got to get up here.
Oh, BTW, The conversation was published by Laura Miller held at the request of a national magazine which later on decided the discussion would "go over the heads" of its readers. I know if you read this blog you must be smart so in case you want to read the whole thing - don't miss the little next button at the end of the page.