A Technology Paradigm Challenge for Girls and Women
by William Jackson, M.Edu.
In the past several years I have noticed more women in my Educational
Technology classes and involved in community activities that integrate
Social Media and technology. Teaching in higher education and on the
elementary level the conversations for girls have changed from cosmetology
careers to building Apps, designing web sites and interaction on Social
The increasing numbers of girls and women that have an online presence
shows the increase in knowledge and capabilities in women to be “Content
Creators” and “Knowledge Builders.” Intellectualism in tech is not just for
men any longer women are growing. Women are intricately involved
and changing the paradigm for who is developing Apps, software applications
and involved in STEAM initiatives. Black Girls Code, The Misadventures of
Awkward Black Girl, The Adventures of Moxie Girl, Journey Into Womanhood,
Taylor Richardson (an aspiring astronaut) and others are creating a dynamic
change in the perceptions of girls and women involved in technology and
Education and Exposure is Important
Education and exposure is important to empower girls and women to the benefits
and dangers of using Social Media platforms to communicate and exchange information.
There is a growing need for girls and women to understand the dangers of Social Media
participation, this can been seen in media reports showing the results of Cyberbullying,
harassment, stalking, and Catfishing that started with innocent chatting online,
from online verbal conflict that lead to physical assaults.
Social Media content can provide a Marketable opportunity to promote talents, abilities,
skills and putting girls in line for scholarships, Internships and jobs. Girls/women are
afforded a chance to Brand themselves intellectually, creatively, and analytically.
Skills that show leadership abilities, higher order and critical thinking skills, there needs
to be caution when friending, collaborating and sharing information with unfamiliar people.
Good rules of thought “Think before you post” and “Everyone is not your friend,” on
Social Media. Content posted either in text, pictures, video or other formats cannot be
deleted once posted online. SM tools for girls, a good measure to remember in using
Social Media platforms: girls should always Market and Brand themselves for success.
Somebody Is Watching You
You never know who is watching your online content, from colleges to potential employers.
There are potential college scholarships, Internships, or jobs waiting and SM activity
can influence inclusion or exclusion in receiving them. SM platforms can build a Brand
as an expert in fields that are looking for talent and innovative thinking. Technology
has opened opportunities for women of all ages to work in tech careers never thought
possible and even start their own businesses. Branding as a “Thought Leader,”
“Content Diva,” will build a person as “Human Capital” that businesses are thirsting for.
Social concerns like mental health, physical wellness, pregnancy, dating, bullying/cyberbullying,
breast cancer and other personal issues are generating a Social presence because of
Social Media’s ability to “connect” people with similar passions. Creating a presence on
Social Media has the potential to create a following and make social change effective.
Issues addressing Mental Health are brought to light through organizations like MHIAAC.
Applying SM tools to share information, MHIAAC is growing because SM allows for
anonymous and discrete access for those still challenged by embarrassment and
misinformation of mental health http://www.mhiaac.org/.
Managing Your Content
Learning through active dialogue, engagement, discussion, debate and even role
playing, the importance of proactive action in managing content and displaying the
importance of intellectualism that can shine on networking sites like LinkedIn
http://LinkeIn.com is important to set a positive foundation.
Competition is stiff and unforgiving when seeking jobs or starting a career, intellectualism,
academic success, community involvement and even spiritual awareness
are valuable in Marketing, Branding and Promoting. A girl’s and woman’s content
sets their foundation for public respect and notoriety if done correctly.
On PBS Frontline documentary “Digital Nation” 2007 each generation that is involved
in the creation of digital content is creating a paradigm shift in how higher education
and businesses find information on future employees. Recruitment procedures have
drastically changed because of Social Media platforms. Recruiters are “Googling”
students, their schools, family members, zip codes where they live and getting
interesting results. I have said on numerous times for parents to Google their children
and school districts should begin hiring Social Media counselors to provide professional
development to students in middle and high schools. Terrorists are recruiting girls
and women globally and parents are unaware who their girls are talking to online.
Your Profile Is Your Foundation
Caution must be used when creating a profile that the world will see. The Social
side of Social Media is influential because of the opportunity to be popular, funny,
cool and attractive to people. The profile of girls may be an exaggerated, perfect
versions with cute photos, or the ones where life is perfect and pure. French
blogger Garance Doré stated, “we put an edited version of ourselves online.”
This version is not accurate and truthful. Girls and boys do edit themselves, girls
try to show the best things starting with physical attributes to talents not showing
their intellectual abilities. Colleges, universities, and those looking to hire professionals
for the most part want intellectual people with talents and abilities not floor model
air heads that cannot use productivity tools and think Facebook is the ultimate way
to search for a boyfriend, husband or one night fling or even promoting an alternative
Research from the University of Wisconsin has found people looked at their perfect
Facebook profiles they felt a rush of self-esteem, but the esteem did not last long
because of the occurrences of real life.
Social Media provides a platform to show a better version of ourselves, especially
if Branding ourselves and Marketing our abilities and skills. Girls and woman should
realize that they will have to interact with others for real and execute skills that are
smart, creative, adaptable, intelligent, flexible, aggressive (at times) and “real.”
A great example is the comic book “The Adventures of Moxie Girl” that recently
won the Education Division at #OneSpark the Crowd Funding initiative in
Jacksonville, Florida. Angie Nixon and her daughter Natalie using Social Media
and personal marketing were able to win in their division to continue the
community works they are passionate about. Social Media and Technology
are a transformative tool to Brand girls and women in this and the next century.
Allowing the face to technology fields to change and adapt.
Girls and women are deciding what face to put in public and what information to
Brand themselves and Market them against the competition that is growing
Congratulations to One Sparks newest and youngest winner and
Jacksonville’s Moxie Girl!!!
Blog on Moxie Girl:
More can be seen at “One Spark Winner Inspires Young Girls”