Sunday, March 23, 2014

Are Women the Real Power Behind Social Media Platforms?

Social media platforms are a tremendous phenomenon that even passionate technocrats like myself didn't envision when I entered the tech arena many years ago (I won't say how many years ago). Before I went into the military or went to college I was absolutely smitten by the possibilities that would some day come from the work that I would perform as an Electrical Engineer.

After graduating I relished in the challenges that came my way and immersed myself in the work of testing the earliest versions of ferro-electric thin-film capacitors and wireless data technologies. Wow! - I'm still amazed. I spent countless hours evaluating system designs, testing product releases, building and selling technology solutions, and creating an ever expanding awareness of the economics of leadership and human capital along the way - always digging deeper to create better, stronger, faster, more efficient systems and solutions for the companies where I worked for and more broadly for humanity in general. I still believe in the whole good of technology and what it does for us.

With all of my passion for technology and the good that it does, I'm deeply bothered by the gender gap and its impact over time - even more so after Oxford's research study. Much research has been done and initiatives have re-started to turn up the volume on this topic. I'm still perplexed about the 'how' and 'why' of the gender gap and of course I continue to examine ways that I can use my talents and capabilities to help close the gap just a little more. The urgency is real!

Social media platforms provide us with ways to connect, interact, and innovate at the speed of light. All one needs is an idea and a computer and the world is literally at your fingertips. Technology, education, and barriers to entry have virtually disappeared and market disruptions are everywhere as a result. The great equalizers - internet and education - are free making it possible for the entire globe to participate in reshaping our world. Yet the economic distance between men and women remains galaxies apart.

There are two equalizers in life - the internet and education

John Chambers
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Cisco


Social Media Platforms - Owners versus Users

Mashable's article reviewing the Top 10 Highest Rated Tech CEOs prompted me to think about who "owns" social media platforms versus who "uses" these platforms - and whether there is a way to leverage these platforms to dramatically change gender dynamics. To ask the question a different way - can women leverage time spent on social media platforms to help secure stronger leadership roles in companies or as influencers of policies that will drive the desired changes in leadership? There are may ways to answer this question, but the simplest answer is 'yes'. Alone social media platforms aren't the only answer and it would be silly to think so. There also must be 'push', policies, programs, and participation from the target audience - women - to change the trajectory.


Will Social Media Become Girl Territory Soon?

That's the question at the bottom of the infographic. If women use social media platforms to build and launch personal brands, to run their own businesses, and to add massive value beyond shares, likes, and comments - then yes - social media will soon become girl territory. If not, then social media will continue to provide even greater ownership and leadership opportunities for platform founders, leaders, and businesses without maximizing the opportunities at women's fingertips.

top social media sites

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