So, once again this year, it’s Ada Lovelace Day — a day to recognize women in technology. One of the traditions of Ada Lovelace Day is to blog about women in technology that you find inspiring. This year, two names really stand out to me.
First, because of her incredible work raising awareness about Google+ and the impact of its real names policy, I have to say how much I really admire Skud and the work she did bringing the issues into any number of public fora. My perception is that hers was the name most associated with the #nymwars kerfuffle, and I’m kind of wowed by what she accomplished. She was interviewed for media in multiple countries, and blogged extensively about her own experiences being banned by Google+. She always clearly articulated the issues. Amazing work.
The second person who comes to mind is Liz Henry. Liz is someone that I first met at WisCon — the feminist science fiction convention that I attend every May. Liz works for BlogHer and is someone I find incredibly inspiring in terms of theory, technology and a whole host of other stuff. Amusingly, she created a Twitter account and tweeted as the UAR Satellite as it was falling out of orbit. The whole question about “fake” versus “real” online identity is one that I also associate with Liz. For example, a few months ago, the blogosphere came alive with reports that a Syrian blogger, Amina Omari, had been abducted. Amina had been blogging as a gay Syrian-American living in Damascus, and her abduction rippled through the blogging world like wildfire. Liz was the first person to really question the story about Amina. In a matter of days, Liz managed to confirm that “Amina” was a fictional personna created by a blogger named Tom MacMaster. It was an amazing exercise in Internet investigation. But her analysis of the situation was always far more nuanced than simply saying that MacMaster was a “fraud”.