She's Geeky -Fifth Unconference

On Friday, January 29th, I woke up super early to drive with other geeky women to the Tech Museum in Mountainview, California for the first day of the She’s Geeky Unconference.  The event was set up by entrepreneur Kaliya Hamlin in order to bring together women from the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Fields.  Luckily, IP Society sponsored me and was able to attend this awesome gathering of superbly intelligent and influential women this past weekend.

I really had no idea what to expect or that I was even going to lead a discussion, so I was enthralled with the outcome of the event, to say the least.

Unlike most conferences, guess that’ s why it’s called an “un-conference,” Kaliya Hamlin invited us to share our names, twitter handles, professions, and “Why we’re geeky.”  It was so awesome to realize that boys were not the only ones messing around in their rooms trying to develop video games or software, most of these women were doing the very same thing.

I attended a few notable workshops, two of the first ones dealing with entrepreneurship, then social media for social change both led by Vicki Saunders, CEO of Zazengo.  Later on, I went to a session titled “Uncommon Leadership” where we talked about using technology to empower women in refugee camps.  Fact: Globally, according to USCRI,  over 3 million refugees have been in camps for over 50 years. Additionally, over 1 million Afghanis have been in Pakistan for 26 years. Furthermore, in all refugee camps around the world, women are raped almost daily, a sad fate that many women face once they are moved into camps.  We were hoping that if we come up with a solution that women can use regardless of language barriers, it would be perfect for this kind of situation.

Lunch was awesome! As was the coffee cart! I took notes for a talk from Chelsea Rustrum from Freemania.net, she’s been clipping coupons so long, she knows her stuff like the back of her hand.

The next day, Saturday, I was asked by my fellow carpool geeks if I was going to present.  I hadn’t thought about it, but I wasn’t really sure what I would talk about.  I kept thinking about it until we arrived in Mountainview.  After we went around the circle introducing ourselves again that Saturday morning at She’s Geeky, and Kalyia made the announcement to rush to the middle to write a discussion topic, I did it.  I wrote something, then announced it, then put it on the board, then freaked out the entire day.  First one woman came, then there were two, and at the end there were five of us.  Small, but cool, because I don’t know if I could have handled a larger crowd, although more experts would have been cool to bounce ideas off each other.

I chose to name my discussion, “Online Discussion Platforms: what works for business and non-profits,” because I wanted to see if anyone else out there had tried other platforms besides blogs, forums, twitter, and facebook, especially good private discussion platforms, that would help to engage readers and members.   After I led the session, I realized I should have just called it:  “Online community management using facebook and twitter,” because that’s what it was mostly about.  Nevertheless, I learned that people still need to know about how to use these tools for business, and more importantly, how to use them correctly.

Anyway, I went onto my favorite site to try to find the latest tools on the web: go2web20.net and tried to look for something new, but what I mostly found where twitter tools.  Sigh.  Oh well, I will still continue to look.  But what I had learned earlier that day whilst at a discussion titled, “Engaging your Audience,” is that content is king and stories allow us to relate, thereby allowing you to engage that percentage of the population that are not contributing or are not engaged by your topics, posts or stories.

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