Web2.0, the new web, the next web, or whatever you want to call it got a lot of attention over the last 2 to 3 years. Some very cool new services and companies sprung out of the new breed of technology entrepreneurs. However, only few of these new companies manages to reach a broad audience and have a hard time to cross the chasm. The technology scene seems mainly ‘a guy thing’.
The innovators, the people who love technology and love to test new stuff are fairly easy to reach, weblogs like Techcrunch and ReadWriteWeb write extensively about new companies, but their audience is, although large, limited to web-savvies and… men.
Where are the women?
“Women use the web to streamline their lives NOT as a replacement to having a life. To make a date, not to have the date”
To reach the masses you need women as well. Look at it as if you go to a party. A small party with your 20 best friends is a lot of fun and no women are needed to have a good time. If you’re throwing a party for 40.000 people (Sensation for instance) it will be a hard sell if men are the only ones interested. It is the same with web services, if you want to be BIG (mainstream) you need men and women.
I was talking to Martha Orloci, a Canadian women who just caught ‘the web2.0 virus’. She explained me the difference between what men and women are doing on the web.
“To understand why there are so few women writing, strategizing, creating, or participating in designing 2.0 projects, looking at my friends and acquaintances (30-55 year old, strong, smart, well educated women who are technically sophisticated). Their time is very valuable, spare time is scarce. They use the Internet as a tool to gain some efficiency in their day. They pay their bills, do their research, check their mail. They use it to streamline their lives NOT as a replacement to having a life. As they’ve told me, they use the Internet to make a date, not to have the date”
She answered some questions about women on the web extensively on her blog (thanks Martha)
So, how do we get women on the web2.0 train?
One thing that could help is a female role model, a female Steve Jobs would probably do the trick. Web2.0 needs a successful and charismatic female technology icon to have a chance to get the attention of women. Someone who inspires other women to fall in love with technology, someone who can spread the word.