Thursday News: Wattpad’s record year; Women in science and on the internet; Marketing your ebook; and More cool gadgets
Wattpad Year in Review – 2013 – Wattpad had an impressive year. If converted to paper, they claim the totality of Wattpad stories in 2013 would weigh more than 1,000 elephants. Among the amazingness, they report that 7,544,914 pieces of fan fiction were uploaded to Wattpad, and material was available in more than 30 languages. Wattpad
The Easiest Possible Way to Increase Female Speakers at Conferences – Now here’s a massive shock (not). All it takes to increase the changes that a woman will speak on a conference panel is to have at least one woman on the organizing committee. Of course, part of the problem here is that the underrepresentation of women means that you often don’t have any women organizing these conferences and panels, which just perpetuates the problem on a systemic level. Still, perhaps this study will encourage more women to see out these organizational roles, even though, as the article notes, there are other issues that contribute to the general problem of equitable representation.
“‘Put at least one woman on the team that organizes a scientific symposium, and that team will be much more likely to invite female speakers,’ said study co-author Arturo Casadevall, chair of microbiology and immunology at Yeshiva University, in a statement. The authors analyzed 460 symposia involving 1,845 speakers in two large meetings sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology, the General Meeting and the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.” The Atlantic
The Next Civil Rights Issue: Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet – Moriah Jovan tweeted this piece, and given the previous story on the underrepresentation of women in the sciences, I thought it was an interesting companion piece. This is a long, in-depth piece, and while it may not win unanimous agreement, I think it raises a number of really important points.
“According to a 2005 report by the Pew Research Center, which has been tracking the online lives of Americans for more than a decade, women and men have been logging on in equal numbers since 2000, but the vilest communications are still disproportionately lobbed at women. We are more likely to report being stalked and harassed on the Internet—of the 3,787 people who reported harassing incidents from 2000 to 2012 to the volunteer organization Working to Halt Online Abuse, 72.5 percent were female.” Pacific Standard
5 Test Results To Help You Market Your eBook – While I’m sure this information will be pored over by many authors, I had to sigh in frustration at some of the findings, hoping against hope that we won’t see a rise in fake reviews and even more invasive promo. Customer reviews sell books (check); New York Times Bestselling Author sells books (check). There is some interesting stuff here, though, including the finding that the word “hilarious” in a blurb apparently sells books.
“It stands to reason that punchy, exciting word choice is a must for an effective blurb, but we weren’t sure how much our readers agreed. When we tested this hypothesis, the results were surprising even to us, as the addition of just one key word consistently drove better response rates. In one case, placing the word “hilarious” near the beginning of a blurb resulted in almost 4,000 more clicks.” BookBub Unbound
CES 2014: the best wearable smartwatches and fitness gadgets – The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held annually in Las Vegas, is always an amazing display of new technology, and this year is no exception. From toys to a variety of consumer gadgets and more, the 2014 tradeshow has some pretty cool smartwatches and health and fitness devices, including a toothbrush app that can tell how well and how much you’ve covered of your teeth while you brush (great for parents). Also smartwatches are getting even smarter (does this mean we’re all going to be yelling into our wrists soon?):
“Intel’s new prototype smartwatch integrates a full phone into a watch, not simply relying on a smartphone like most other smart watches, including the Samsung Galaxy Gear and Sony Smartwatch 2, for connectivity.” The Guardian
Uhmmmm..maybe its just me, (and my profession) but I have never ever noticed the lack of women speakers at conferences. Lack of men, yes. But lack of women, nope.
I am a librarian, but even in other aspects of my life, (Church, family etc.,) never noticed this problem. At all.Would love to see and hear more men speak. Actually, forget that. I just want the best and not diversity bean counters, thanks.
@Mari: Yes, it is just you and your profession. Come join us in the STEM fields and you too can be the lone woman/handful of women at a meeting/conference/etc.
I had a similar reaction to the ‘five points.’ It reminds me of the ‘All! New! Changing! Marketplace! Selfpub!’ articles that tell you how to make money by self-pubbing, and first toss out casually, “write in a hot genre” and “be prolific.”
Wasn’t this the same way to make lots of money in the traditional marketplace?
Be a NYT Best Seller and have 200 5* reviews? More of the same “no kidding” advice.
I want to work in Mari’s library. Although the vast majority of librarians are women, all but one of the top jobs at my library are held by men, and it’s only the guys who are ever authorized to go to conferences.
Of course, that’s because they specialize in Cool Stuff like tech and business and admin, and I putter around playing with the girly fiction.
Not that I’m bitter or anything.
@Little Red: Not just STEM, either. Political Science and Economics are still heavily male dominated, especially at the tenured level. Fewer women at every step of the hierarchy. And there are lots more women coming into both disciplines now. [ETA: What I mean by that is that given there are way more women in the pipeline, the lack of women at Associate and Full level is even more distressing.]
@hapax: I checked our library’s directory. Until she retired a couple of years ago we had an awesome woman who was University Librarian, but now we have a man. The higher-level jobs are where the men are; there are women, but the women are disproportionately in the lower-level positions. Not likely to be going to conferences. So, yeah.
Regarding the quote from the article above ‘of the 3,787 people who reported harassing incidents from 2000 to 2012 to the volunteer organization Working to Halt Online Abuse, 72.5 percent were female.” Pacific Standard”
I fear this is also partially a cultural difference as well. I think women are more likely to report online harassment and more likely to take it seriously and as a genuine threat than men are. This is sadly because women are far more likely to become victims of similar behavior “in real life” and perceive the threat of it online spilling into their “real lives.” Every “average” man I know or has ever known seems to live a life of far less fear on a day to day basis than any “average” woman I know or have known. Things like traveling/being alone or whether it’s daylight or dark etc. etc. have a very small influence over the life and decisions of most men I know and a huge influence over the life of most women. I imagine a lot of men would shrug off the idea of online harassment with the idea of “Eh, let them just try and come mess with me.”
@Little Red & @Sunita: My dad’s friend and colleague (they are both Physics professors) used to get invited on interviews for professorial positions even when the interviewers had not the slightest inclination or interest in hiring her. Often the position was already promised to a man. So they could show that they had considered a woman for the job, when in fact they hadn’t.
Also the entertainment industry. That’s why there’s a need for organizations like Women in Film and conferences like <a href="http://www.digitalhollywood.com/WomensFall13.html" title="The Women's Entertainment & Technology Summit" – because otherwise female speakers would be few and far between. It would be great if women weren't shunted to a side programming track (TWETS was part of the bigger Digital Hollywood biannual conference) but…at least it's some sort of acknowledgement.
Philosophy departments are also OVERWHELMINGLY male (and white). I went to a women’s college. All our philosophy profs were male (and white). When one retired and we did a candidate search (I was a student participant) we searched HIGH AND LOW for female or PoC candidates. Couldn’t find a single one. The few who existed had been snatched up by much larger universities (Ivies and such). And the one conference I went to was exactly the same. I was a seven day wonder.