commit: 6b2ca8a - #414 (2014-03-05 12:54:44 -0500)
Over the weekend I noticed that there are only 4 women in the list of top 100 users here on Inbound. I believe there is a combination of reasons for this, from the site's design, to simply not feeling comfortable posting.
But I wanted to reach out to all the marketing ladies, and
As someone who needs to know what the community cares about it, I love it. Now, let's get this conversation started. :)
The WordStream account is an incognito lady! (Elisa here.) Maybe there are other women hiding behind brands? In any case, I think part of the problem is that most of the articles that get submitted and upvoted are written by men. To some extent, Inbound (like many other SEO-related sites) just feels a bit like a boy's club. It's like the Wikipedia editor problem -- it just feels like it would require a huge amount of concerted effort to counteract those numbers.
Hi Elisa! One question, why do you contribute as the brand and not yourself?
Totally pedestrian explanation: When I visit Inbound, I'm usually using the same browser where I'm already logged into the WordStream Twitter account. And now this account has more of a built-up history of activity, so I continue to use it.
See, Larry contributes as himself! :D
+1 for using the word "pedestrian" correctly. :)
I might be completely wrong about this but I have a feeling that PPC Associates (84th as I type this) is primarily run by a woman as well.
Ditto the EyeQuant account - also covertly run by a woman (Bitsy here)! I've often silently wondered about the number of women contributing to marketing discussions, so thank you for bringing this up, Jennifer. Like Elisa, I use a company name because of its twitter association.
I mostly use inbound to bolster and share content I find interesting, but like many people here, I also want to share what EyeQuant writes about. I understand why we are all wary of self-promotion, but I also feel it's important to create an environment where people feel comfortable sharing and their own ideas, not just re-hashing popular ones.
Just my two cents :-)
A few ideas:
- Is it also the case with Moz? Are there any high-ranking female Moz members who may be unfamiliar with the site, who can be introduced to it?
- It's been quiet on the AMA front recently... How about some more AMAs, with a focus on women? So far you've only had one lady (Kristina Halvorson).
A few female AMA suggestions:
- Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! (might be a long shot but you never know...!)- Lisa Barone, VP of Strategy at Overt- Stacy Martinet, CMO of Mashable- Rhea Drysdale, CEO of Outspoken Media- Erin Kissane, content strategist- Laura Lippay, CEO of SEOgadget US- And umm... What about you and Keri (on the Community front)?!
I miss the AMAs... You should really bring 'em back :-)
Is it best to do AMAs with women for the sake that they're women? I just want the best insight, regardless of gender. I really don't care if they're men or women.
Pretty sure all the ladies listed above would have the best insight and that's why Steve brought them up. If we want women to feel more open to being a part of this community, we may very well need to reach out to the best & brightest women we know to get them to participate.
You may not care, but others do.
Those are new names to me - I'll have a dig!
Rae would do a freaking hilarious and on-point AMA :)
Also: Joanna Lord, Aleyda Solis, Mackenzie Fogelson, Annie Cushing, Sara Bird and Sha Menz
Add Francine Hardaway to the list of AMA candidates (she runs stealthmode.com). I think she'd have a lot to add.
Another season kicks off this August/September. A couple of fantastic women already lined up :)
Details coming out shortly...
Well, congratulations. You got me to actually login! (Which isn't obvious, by the way, it looks like an "exit" sign.)
I don't spend time here (yet) for a few reasons:
1. I couldn't log in for a long time (pre this redesign) and gave up but it seems to be fixed.
2. Stuff I think is cool is already here because of when I read new articles - I often clip for later, than want to read them over before I promote them anywhere. I worry that sites like this reward promotion before reading.
3. I read the rules, but how self-promotional is posting Kick Point blog posts, even if they aren't written by me? The rules say don't post all your own stuff, but how much is too much? If the other cool stuff is already submitted, what does that leave me with? I enjoy invisible internet points as much as the next person.
4. I don't have a ton of time in my workday to hang out here. It feels like it would be a time suck. But maybe I should try it before I knock it.
Would love to read other people's thoughts on the subject.
Ditto on the congrats and being confused by the "exit sign" login. ;)
With Dana on #2, I don't like sites where it feels like the competition is to post FIRST! It should be to post quality articles. I am also someone who often banks time to read stuff, so I feel a bit behind the curve. (Which causes my anxiety where I feel behind on everything in life, a personal issue that reflects in my drop from using Inbound.)
In most cases, quality inbound marketing articles aren't flash-in-the-pan news and seem like they should have a bit of a longer life.
I'm with Dana and Erica on #2. Too much of "contributing" is thought of as submitting an article, which is here dominated by men.
I'm with Dana on #4. I do like 17,431 roles in my day job and rarely have time for this sort of thing. Unfortunately Inbound.org started up around the time I started getting insanely busy so I haven't had time to really check it out or participate.If someone can figure out how to add more hours to the day and/or clone me, I would love to spend more time here. Or hire me an underling. Or something. Halp?
Same here. Just signed-up using the exit sign... Man! (or Woman!, to stay on topic...)
I'm not sure exactly how to say this, but i'll try. The SEO community is very supportive, but it's also very insular. People tend to invite the same speakers, share the same people's articles, reply to the same tweets and reinforce the same ideas and people. Many of those people tend to be men, maybe because its tech, maybe b/c they're outspoken, maybe b/c they got into the industry first. But to me this is a larger question of reinforcing the already existing "top industry people"
Also, agree with Dana. No time to work AND blog AND inbound everyday :-)
I think Caroline raises a very pertinent point here.
I also feel the industry is very insular and I think you can make the problem about getting other people outside of the "usual crowd" to share stuff here on the whole - not just women specifically. I don't think there has been much diversity in the people sharing regularly since the redesign, for instance (don't have data for this but just a general opinion).
There's also the point that inbound.org is a fairly accurate representation of people involved with inbound marketing - that's both good and bad. The bad being that, on the whole, women are either underepresented in circles such as these or are just not as prevalent in these roles.
I wish I could find the article, but there was a blog post shared here a while back that looked at some conceptions of sexism within the SEO and search circles. I've never seen anyone actively discriminated on gender for as long as I've been in the industry (nor race, nor religion), but I think that, in the case of speakers at conferences and so forth, women are not being put forward as much as they probably should be - or not putting themselves forward as much as they should, for fear of this.
I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with how inbound.org could be perceived as a woman (speaking as a 25 year old man who doesn't own a flannel shirt or a goatee), but I think it's more of a (un)fair reflection of the industry as a whole. I'd love to see more of a female presence - diversity can only be a good thing. I think Steve's AMA ideas are a great way to do this.
I have to say, having worked in law, bicycle shops and as a messenger (I know...) that SEO is actually one of the less insular, less sexist industries.
But that's small comfort, because most industries are awful. And, SEO is very public about stuff that goes on - when someone's nasty, it pops up everywhere. If someone's excluded or feels excluded, that shows up everywhere too.
And, at the risk of sounding sexist myself: Most professional women struggle against years of training to NOT push for inclusion. So, where most of us guys will jump up and down, posting like crazy and saying "pick me!," "pick me!," a lot of women in SEO may wait to be invited.
That's not a biology thing - it's an cultural thing.
A couple of ideas:
1. If you know someone of either gender you feel could contribute to Inbound.org, invite them personally to submit something. If they send you something specific, for example, say "Hey, you should post this on inbound."
2. Inbound moderators should actively recruit top talent. That means making a list of the best marketers out there, again both genders, and contacting them if they know 'em.
This isn't a revolutionary kind of thing - we can chip away at it pretty quickly, though.
Love these ideas Ian! I definitely didn't want to come across as only needing women, because we need a more diverse group contributing overall. I also agree that it's a bit of a cultural thing, but also know plenty of women in this industry that are not like that. So where they at?!
I've generally felt a bit outside of "the industry" - partly geography, partly not coming to the "cool kids" parties until fairly recently, even though I've been working in SEO since 2004. There's certainly an insider circle and I absolutely think that people outside that circle feel excluded and like there isn't a place for them.
We, as a community, should be incredibly welcoming to new folks - new voices make us all better. But we're not great at it. I don't have a solution, but I wonder if other people see this problem.
I think the proportion of joiners to lone wolves is about the same among men and women in the marketing world. The difference is, there are a lot fewer women. So the lone wolves really make an impact.
I think you make a great point Ian, especially in pointing out the cultural aspects of how we pick people to highlight and who asks to be picked. I think that making a list of great marketers is a great step forward and will bring women (who will know other great women) into the inner circle and bring their contacts in to the insular circle as well. I would point out though that the list of great female marketers to highlight will probably have the same problems we just discussed, but its a good start. I think that inviting people to participate if you want your forum to grow while maintaining quality is always a good choice.
There is absolutely a cultural aspect to this. There's a reason Pinterest and Facebook appeal to women, but social voting sites (of virtually any topic) often have less of a female presence. Fundamentally, I think we're less likely to want to "compete" over knowledge and simply sharing information. There's a lot of research on this and it's not worth rehashing, but the simple call-to-action is helpful and needed. Thank you Jen.
Thanks Ian, that's an awesome reply.
I second Ian - I think as an industry, SEO is far and away less sexist than I expected considering the vast number of guys that are in it. I don't know why there are fewer women in SEO as a whole (I have theories, but no solid explanation), but for instance, the lineup at MozCon?? That blew me away with its inclusiveness. Also, I'm totally guilty of reading, but not posting/commenting. :-)
Agreed - I think you really hit the nail on the head here. Also; when you come into a community where 95% of the conversation is being carried out by members of one gender it could feel a little uncomfortable unless you are used to those dynamics.
The AMA's are a great idea but also how many admin's on the site are female? If we could get a few more of the top 100 influencers such as Aleyda Solis (she comments below) more active again then the visibility of women will rise which may encourage a more balanced user base in the community.
I know of at least 4 female moderators, including myself. Two of us are in the top 100, but the other two focus more on moderating and background stuff than they do on submitting and commenting. I definitely feel it's my duty to try to help diversify the people participating on the site.
Hopefully even having this discussion will help bring more women to the site and posting more. :)
"I also feel the industry is very insular and I think you can make the problem about getting other people outside of the "usual crowd" to share stuff here on the whole"
I didn't know this existed before. But I will contribute now.
I was just looking through my outreach and it looks to me like most of my female contacts in SEO are outshadowed by the brands on which they work (with a couple big exceptions like Marcela De Vivo), while more of my male contacts whose name overshadows or equals the company brand in my eyes (Anthony Pensabene, Vinny La Barbera, Mark Traghagen).
I probably don't contribute as much as I could here mainly because I'm more interested in "Inbound marketing" as a broader category than I am about SEO. I wish there was a better way to segment the posts so I could sort things. By the way I don't think that has anything to do with my gender, just a general comment :) In general, more diversity over here would be welcome, both in terms of gender as well as in terms of topics and content.
Totally agree on all accounts! But, this is definitely Inbound.org and the topics here shouldn't all be about SEO. I do think that people tend to mark a lot of posts as SEO when they're really other things. For me personally, I straight up focus on submitting posts that aren't SEO focused. I seek out posts about Community, Social Media, content, entrepreneurship, etc.
I thought that the addition of multiple tags was a great idea and it should help to combat this - people will include 'SEO' and 1-2 others. Should help to fill others categories with more content, too!
In addition to better segmenting, it would help if people would actually upvote non-SEO posts. Even if inbound related posts get submitted, the community votes them to the bottom. It would help our industry as a whole to read from a broad spectrum of subjects, but until everyone realizes that, some of those posts will never get the attention they deserve. Because it is so SEO-heavy, I sometimes fail to contribute posts in other areas because I don't think they'll get any attention, and I am in SEO.
What Paige said! :)
I love inbound.org but I am usually just a lurker. I will be interested to see what others have to say about this topic.
My main excuse is that I can barely squeeze out enough time to come and lurk and don't usually have enough time to leave a comment. I will work on it!
I hear ya there, and this seems like a running theme amongst the ladies. I actually normally only jump in at night and seem to be more active then, because during the day I'm pretty busy. Sometimes I'll jump in during the day and just save posts to read later. Thanks for even being a lurker though! That's great that you're here. :)
Before I reacted to 4/100, I wanted to figure out about how many women we should *expect* to see in that top contributor list. The answer is ~14.
According to Moz survey data, only 23% of our industry is female, so we're starting with a smaller pool. Okay, cool. We also know that there are gender differences in social media usage, so what about those? According to 2013 PEW Internet research, only 4% of women on the internet use reddit while 8% of men do. (Yes, reddit isn't the same as Inbound, but it's the most relevant, recent data I could find.) Here's the math:
* 4% of 23 (female use rate * females) = ~1.
* 8% of 77 (male use rate * males) = ~6.
So, we should expect to see 1 female for every 6 males (which translates to 14/100.) Why aren't we there?
For one, a lot of top contributors are people who have been in the industry awhile. They are accomplished speakers and writers, and they have been for awhile. I can't find the data, but I think most people would agree that our industry skewed even more heavily male in the past (which probably says more about STEM education than it does about SEO). That would make the pool of "established" SEOs, the pool that the top 100 contributors seem to come from, even more male-dominated. Then, throw in the fact that it's more fun to upvote people who you've seen speak or people who you've met, people who we just said are extremely likely to be male, and 4 of 100 makes a lot more sense.
I do think that more women could & should participate, but I don't think that isolating by gender is the answer... mainly because the men (& women) I've met in this industry are some of the least sexist, most thoughtful, wonderful people I've ever met. The gender gap in our industry certainly isn't our industry's fault, (I think it's probably the fault of our education system & society as a whole,) so figuring out how to specifically engage women on Inbound probably isn't the answer.
I think we'll bridge the gender gap by being smart, inspiring, successful people, the kind of people that kids want to grow up to be. Then more kids, of both genders, of all races, from all backgrounds *will* grow up to be like us. And, hopefully, they will join a marketing community where age, race, gender, and background don't matter as much as intelligence & skill do. After all, I don't want to be a good lady marketer; I just want to be a good marketer.
Where I got my numbers:
Seconding that this was fantastic. Sparked a conversation in the office about how many women are active in general. Always the root of the problem. Unlikely to see a 50/50 split, because it simply isn't realistic. Thanks Stephanie!
And this is why I love having you on my team :) You hit another key point I feel like needs more attention too- should this be about more than just gender? If we're going to focus on an unchangeable attribute that we know very clearly causes some qualified people from getting speaking gigs, should we also focus on other unchangeable attributes like race, age, and sexual identity too?
Agreed agreed agreed.
Awesome response, Stephanie.
Not only are there less women in the industry than men, there seems to be a smaller percentage of all women who want to speak/blog/be visible to the industry. A vast majority of the women in the industry would need to start stepping forward to even make a dent in the public representation.
Furthermore, that would require many women breaking away from "support" behavior to taking the lead. I was watching a Sarah Evans interview last week (http://youtu.be/obqfyxpIOGY?t=5m20s) where she mentioned that, when addressing a room filled with women, only a few self-identified as experts in their field. What's it going to take to get experts to start recognizing themselves as such?
I agree with some of the points above of the same people being used for speaking gigs over & over, and as a result, if you weren't in that group in the beginning (which was predominately men), it's hard to wedge your way in, regardless of gender.
But I also believe that including a demographic for the sake of including it is almost as destructive as not including one for the sake of not including one. Because either is destructive to those who truly deserve to share their knowledge, because everything else is irrelevant, especially in business. For example - I think Rhea Drysdale is one of the smartest SEOs I know. She's a woman, so what? She shouldn't be promoted any more or any less as a result. But the fact is a lot of the smarter SEOs who want to share their knowledge and want to speak are males, and we shouldn't hold that against them. And I'm not saying that because I'm a dude. If I wanted advice on scrapbooking, I'd probably end up talking to a woman, just because the majority of the most insightful people in the scrapbooking industry are women, not because of their gender, but because of their knowledge. And if I wanted more men to become more prominent in the industry, regardless of the breadth of their knowledge but solely because they were men, then I would be doing an injustice to the industry as a whole by promoting those unfairly who aren't necessarily the most knowledgable because of the stigma we have for inequality & discrimination.
Hey Jon, I think perhaps you're missing the point here. I'm not trying to promote women over men, I'm not even sure where you would get that from. I'm asking why the women aren't coming here. There are plenty of ladies in this industry who kick ass, I'm asking why they don't contribute here.
I'm not even going to touch your examples or completely sexist remarks.
Jon's response is very similar to the criticism I heard from some of the male attendees at MozCon about the presence of female speakers. I think it might be a holdover from that.
I tweeted out this earlier today - seems relevant: http://tammalee.tumblr.com/post/56819800789/teachers-are-often-unaware-of-the-gender
(and critiques to feminism in general)
I have an idea on how we can settle whether Jon was being "sexist" or engaging in "reality".
Why don't you two do a niche face-off? Jon can make a niche site targeted at scrapbooking for women, and you can make one for men. With the huge scrapbook for men market and your SEO expertise, you should have a huge, profitable list in no time!
Jon, thanks for the mention and back atcha. Also, I'd like it known that it isn't that I don't have a desire to be here, but the past year, I simply didn't have the time. The age old debate--family or career. I chose to have a child with my husband knowing that as the primary bread winner and owner of a business, it would hurt certain areas. My energy level simply wasn't at a place where I could spend the hours I was used to, so I let go of the area that was least important to the success of the company--social media.
One can argue that social media is vital in today's world, but you know what? I cut it out and the business thrived. We grew the team by three employees, we landed many clients, we maintained our existing clients, we developed new services, and we drove profitability. All of this happened while I was having to take shorter days, coming in late because I needed more sleep, and eventually, out with the delivery and recovery.
Now, I'm back, but it took an entire year out of my life. I don't expect the community to put themselves on hold, but I had to and that sucked a little. Not having more points on Inbound.org wasn't a priority. Not being a voice in the community and benefiting from the exchange of ideas that happens on here is a priority today though and I hope you'll see more of me though I recognize that I still can't dedicate as much time as I'd like to given a flexible work schedule and the demands of a newborn.
Thank god you'll be back more :). And I don't blame you one bit! Agreed with everything.
Go scrapbook! I've hold down the fort here for awhile. :P (hugs)
I should be a little more clear on the scrapbooking example - I actually did a lot of research on bloggers & thought leaders in that specific space as I was looking to launch an ecommerce venture in it, so not just saying it because it's a stereotype (which it most likely is); saying it because it was in the data when I researched the vertical.
And please, if you think I'm wrong please leave your thoughts. I promise I'm not close minded, I'd love for one of you to convince me otherwise.
Can you explain how that comment was relevant to the conversation? This discussion isn't about promoting women, it's about getting them to contribute. If you'd like to start another thread about why we shouldn't promote women just because they're women, you should totally do that. I'm sure you'll get quite a debate.
Jon, there are 2 points of yours that I want to respond to. The first is a rather valid point you raise that deserves some conversation. The 2nd point, well... I'l get to that.
also, I know this thread has gone on a tangent already, but whatever :)
With speaking gigs (and other situations) you bring up the issue of bringing in Y audience for the sake of representation while there might be people in X audience that are perceived to be better for the role, and the 'injustice' that this practice brings in. Much like people debate with affirmative action and other anti-discrimination practices, I would agree that there is a tricky line that we have to understand. From what you mentioned, if there are people (regardless of their gender/race/etc) that are better for a role, then stick with the best people in a role. On the flip side, however, there is REAL existence of discrimination that are in people's minds. Much of the time, it's subconscious discrimination brought on from socially-induced factors. For example, well, seeing an internet marketing speaking list of predominantly or even completely full of male speakers will cause a conscious (or subconscious) perspective that the males are superior to females on the subject. Even for the most innocent of us that would claim we are not charged with discriminating one group over another, this can still affect us. I would even argue that influences the bias you mention you have in regards to scrapbooking experts.
Because there is that implicit discrimination that happens from lopsided representation, that's why I'm glad that a selection process like "Who gets to speak at MozCon" is going to be purposeful about a fair representation. The more they do that, the more they help eliminate the subconscious effect of discrimination.
Also, I would suggest that something like how MozCon chooses speakers is not really about choosing the smartest people. They sure have to be very smart, but with our industry it's hard to really define the 'smartest' because there are a lot of facets and variables that affect how best practices and tactics are formed, thus creating a LOT of interesting, smart perspectives in the industry. So I would then say that MozCon, from my view, is really a collection of top-notch perspectives on various subjects of internet marketing. Now that sounds very subjective... and it is. And that's okay. I think it's fine to be subjective about choosing who who you think will give a great presentation based on their unique perspective and unique knowledge. That should take away the thought of whether, for example, there should have been a man taking that woman's spot because they are 'smarter'. Again because the selection is above the idea of just choosing the smartest.
After re-reading your comment about scrapbooking a few times, I don't think you meant to say how it came across. So, I'll go easy on you there... although I'll still call it out as an unwise example. But to tie that example to my earlier point... if there was a great male perspective on scrapbooking that was brought in to speak at a scrapbooking conference despite the fact that there might be 'smarter' women on the subject, I would say that was a great thing. They might have a valuable unique perspective that benefits the community, and also helps push aside the subconscious discrimination that men cannot possibly be experts in this field. Overall, it's better on a real-world, social perspective.
I have to say, I kind of disagree here. I get where you're going with the point you're making but it seems to miss a lot of other factors here. The SEO industry is predominantly made up by males; thus making it a lot harder for females to break-through and be seen within the industry. This means that even when good female SEOs are starting to break-through into the industry, they are having to work twice as hard - this is just the culture of the industry that has been bedding in over a LONG time.
Just take a look at the collaborative posts from the 'top SEO experts' that we see all the time - they're pretty much solely made up of males. I actually did one a few weeks ago (http://findmyblogway.com/link-building-wins/) and this only contained one female SEO - this wasn't done on purpose, but I just noticed it as I was writing this comment!
I think that we should be making a conscious effort to bring forward top female SEOs within the industry and get their content seen. This way, we can have a more varied and diverse community; especially within sites like inbound.org. Let's be honest, some of the guys that are posting on here (even those within the top 100) are just posting crap, so it isn't even about having those "who truly deserve to share their knowledge" - it's about building a diverse community.
Just my opinion though :)
Thank you Matthew, I really appreciate your insight on this.
I don't think encouraging women to be more active on Inbound will in any way exclude men, which is what your comment suggests. There's more than enough space for everyone.Encouraging people to make their voices heard (in a positive way) is unlikely to be detrimental to a community.
I'd have gone with nursing or gynecology or something but I agree :)
I'd just like it known that I was mentioned above and now I'm posting, so feel free to "up vote" this comment about 4,000 times and I'll gladly join those ranks since I'm already a year behind in posting activity. You know, just to expedite the process. ;)
You know, if I could embed gifs, I might hang out here more often.
See, I have a gif for that! Also for bees.
@Jennifer so you have lots of women on this thread..
Remember over the Twitters when I said just bringing these numbers to my attention would make me participate more?
Why yes, yes I do. :)
Bait and switch...... ;)
Exactly. Here I am.
I'd like to point out that a conversation was started about why women don't participate in forums like this, and then a man came and made a scrapbooking comment. So, I mean, there's that, and that may be part of your answer. ;)
For me, it's a time thing. Often there are conversations that I'd like to be involved in but I know that if I take the time to comment (which is a decent time investment because I'm wordy), I'll have to watch the comment, and respond to the comment and that may take time that I simply don't have in my day right now. We all get 24 hours and we prioritize them based on what provides the most value for us. It's not that commenting and industry interaction isn't important, but sometimes it's easier to pass on in favor of client work, meetings and other initiatives. I was a lot more active in online conversations 3-4 years ago and it was because I participated late at night. Now I go to bed like the old lady I am.
I also think there's a lot of grandstanding that takes place and I don't want to be part of it. Not at Inbound, mind you, just in the industry as a whole. Someone takes something obvious and then tweets it/shares it as a weapon and other people hop on. It turns my stomach, even when good people do it.
Perhaps most notably - I don't feel *part* of Inbound. It has kind of a "Moz overflow" vibe to it (which is nothing against Moz and others may not even feel that way!) and I feel like since I don't hang out at Moz, I don't "know" anyone here and I don't fit in. Maybe if smart folks (men and women) were invited in to check out relevant discussions or to lead them, they may feel more comfortable doing so. I tend to share more on Twitter because a soundbite is easier to scheduled into my day than a complete though, but if I was asked to visit or if someone sent me a link to something I'm passionate about, then I'd come hang out for a bit.
Someone people will enter a party on their own, and others wait until they get an "in". I'm not sure if that's a gender thing or just a personality quirk.
This. This. This again.
Great call Jen! I approached Ed during MozCon and mentioned how although I had been usually very active here --at some point I was No. 1 user--, lately I had participated far less since I had been traveling a lot due to work out of Spain (which meant limited connectivity) and also, my motivation had gone down (I also mentioned about how valuable would it be to have a section for original Spanish posts). After thinking about it I believe I have being unmotivated to share as much as before since after reaching a point as a contributor you need some "community motivators" to keep you around making you feel part of it, to feel valuable, etc. which unfortunately I haven't seen at Inbound: When I have stopped contributing no one has reached me to say anything (being one of the top contributors). Also, I remember how at some point when there were some discussions about the ranking/rating system it was even raised by some members how it was "not fair" that because people like me was in Europe we had a better "timing" to be the first to share: I could see that for some people here it was more of a race / competition than building and sharing valuable content in a "community" platform, that also demotivated me. Maybe there's a "dynamic" that needs to change / evolve to make Inbound not only to attract more women, but keep around the ones that are already here :)
Time. Energy. Familiarity. I had to come over and see the scrapbooking comment though :-) I can't remember if I've ever been here and logged in though. I 3rd the motion about the exit sign!
The graphics are a huge problem for me. It way too long to figure out how to upvote someone. If I can't figure out how to contribute, I can't contribute. However, that being said, I would probably know if I spent more time here.
I'm also not correctly replying to your post, whoops :) And another critique... how do I know where the new comments are? I have to scan everything? AT least on Moz, they turn yellow... Not sure what I'm missing there. However, I'm not meaning to critique things about this site since I never really come here at all... but Facebook and Twitter (and okay, sometimes G+) give me all the links I need to read articles that people are talking about.
Ha. I just noticed the '1 point' after I clicked on your arrow. :) But yes, not that intutive.
Agreed to all. And I still haven't figured out how to change my profile after 9 months....
Just click on your name and "edit profile" should appear in the far right. (I just did this) :D
@all-the-above - yeah, a lot of the UI sucks and needs rethinking. We've some algorithm and moderator features, together with a bunch of bugfixes... THEN we're getting onto fixing some of these design quirks.
Agree with you - we're not managing user expectations well :/... but hang in there, we'll fix it!
I'm ASSUMING the little arrows next to the names are an upvote? I clicked on yours, Paige, and it just disappeared... So... I'm with ya on that!
That's definitely the case for me. I just can't figure out the interface. One time I got really frustrated b/c (don't judge) I couldn't figure out how to log in. It's a sleek interface; I just have to relearn it each time I come to the site.
What Dana said: "Stuff I think is cool is already here because of when I read new articles - I often clip for later, than want to read them over before I promote them anywhere. I worry that sites like this reward promotion before reading." I've also had much less time and energy this year due to health issues, and this just hasn't been a priority. That said, your tweet got me to post this comment! Well done, Jen.
Really excited to see actual discussion happening on Inbound.
I feel, and I may be totally wrong, that some segmentation should occur. For instance:
1) Why don't women participate in terms of article submission
2) Why don't women participate when it comes to discussion.
I feel there are going to be different answers to each question.
In regards to the first I feel like there is a huge FIRST! mentality when it comes to posting stories, and that gender roles in workplaces may afford men more opportunities then women when it comes to morning slacking off or whatever other types of institutional/societal norms would bias in favor of men when it comes to being able to post an article right after publishing. Although without looking at the registration numbers there is really no way to accurately say that a greater percentage of registered male users are active when it comes to posting.
In regards to discussion, I'm not quite sure this is actually a gender issue. There is just very little active discussion on inbound.org, in fact when I came here to post this after seeing Jenita Tweet about it, only two threads that were above the fold had discussions currently taking place. Some kind of initiative to increase the amount of discussion would be really awesome, and hopefully could be developed in such a way as to inspire everyone, regardless of race or gender, to comment more.
I also want to point out, that while I feel like the constant push for gender equality is in and of itself a great thing, I am really saddened by the lack of a similar push in the search marketing community when it comes to the same equality in terms of race/ethnicity. Conferences are particularly bad at this, from the limited data set of conferences I have been to.
Sam Noble over at Koozai in the UK runs a digital females group might be a good place to promote or get feedback.
How the heck do I subscribe to comments on this thread? <-- Another roadblock. User error?
uh.. you don't. :D You hit refresh a lot...
Again, in the works. I'd love to have "hot", "incoming" and "all time" on comment threads, you can subscribe to, neatly nested, easy to comment on all devices.
Just not there yet! :)
Thanks, Ed. Looking forward to using these features!
Jon's comment was not inherently sexist. People might not like his juxtaposition of SEO and scrapbooking (perhaps a poor choice given that people seem not to value scrapbooking as much as SEO which might upset scrapbookers of both genders), but probabilistically (and factually) speaking, he was correct - if he pulled the name of a scrapbooker out of a hat, it probably would have been a woman.
Perhaps he should have said "nursing", a job far more vital than SEO that employs predominantly women. If we can get past his awkward example choice based on his own experience, maybe we can continue this discussion without torches and pitchforks
I'd rather chase Jon around with a torch and pitchfork. That sounds fun!
Just kidding, but all of you chattering on Twitter about this got me to come here and comment for the first time ever. (I think...)
This is a great discussion and I'm glad it's been brought up. I think it's the right conversation to have around why women aren't participating and how you can encourage them to be a more active part of the community.
However, I also agree with Jon. Women shouldn't be promoted or included simply because they are women. I don't think anyone meant to suggest that they should, but it is still a valid point.
Also, I recommend everyone on here read "Lean In" if you haven't already, because it's awesome and will give you a lot of insight into all this stuff.
Now please excuse me, as I need to go drink wine and scrapbook while watching Grey's Anatomy. (Only mostly kidding :) )
I'm over a month late to this discussion, but I'm compelled to comment! I upvoted Jon's scrapbooking comment because it sounded right to me (and I didn't feel offended at all), but then I started reading the other comments and I went, "Oooops, did I just upvote the enemy?" (Kidding. No one's fighting, I know.)I'm probably going to reiterate points that were already raised, but Jon's scrapbooking comment didn't offend me because I do scrapbook. (And I do SEO too.) And he's right, because if I want scrapbooking tips, I'd take a woman's advice over a man's advise without having second thoughts. I don't see scrapbooking as anything less than SEO so there's probably no need to use "nursing" instead of "scrapbooking" as comparison, too. Scrapbookers have their own art and expertise, you'd be surprised at how much these women know their craft. In fact, they probably earn more than SEOs! :) I follow their blogs, and I love learning from them.But I've also been quietly following female SEOs for the past 8 years--Rhea Drysdale, Lisa Barone, Sugarrae, Rebecca Kelley (when she was still with Moz). They inspire me NOT because they have to work harder to find their voice in a predominantly male industry (I don't think they have to work harder), but mostly as a woman, I feel that they have bigger priorities on their plate (relationships and family) and yet, still be able to shine in this industry.
That said, I understand why women often don't have time to involve in discussions like this--there are other priorities in their plate and networking gets pushed down the list. For me, I don't even join discussions like this at all. But that's not even because I'm a woman, I guess it's mostly because you're all mostly Americans and I'm a Filipina, and well.. maybe we should start a thread for Asians because I'm sure while no one's really against Asians around here, it's a little awkward for some of us to say something. (In fact this is my first comment in a thread like this, when I've been doing SEO for the past 8 years.) So we just read. And watch. And quietly upvote your posts. And not say anything. But we're definitely around. One last thing, Upvote on scrapbooking and Greys Anatomy. :-)
You call this torches and pitchforks?! This is nothin'. It appears Inbound.org is not prepared for the level of sarcasm and wit that the ladies would bring. :)
I wish I could upvote this more than once.
Finally jumping in now I'm on a laptop (been travelling all day)...
Jen's post hits two points:
1. We need more women here.
Jen's right. The stats speak for themselves. I've read and met fantastic women marketers who really have something to say. Perhaps they're all too busy getting actual shit down to come on Inbound.org?? But on't worry... we'll storyboard some solutions to interrupt their workflow and rope 'em in... ;)
More important IMHO is the second, implied point...
2. We need more diversity.
A lot of this community was seeded by Rand followers which was great for giving us density in one market from the outset. A "community" born from an somewhat-close audience from day one.
... but getting density in other markets, especially if that's simultaneous, is frickin' hard. It's like trying to talk to someone beneath a deafening jet engine. Our mission for Inbound.org is to spool up more "engines" of conversation in different, but related verticals.
There's a lot of work we can do with the platform to design for this... it's fascinating hearing Joel Spolsky and the team at Stack Exchange talk about how they designed an environment for communities that scale in multiple facets. There are definite things we can do which could work.
There's bits and bobs like AMA's in new, different, yet related fields. Personally, I really enjoyed Avinash's and Kristina's. Analytics and Content Strategy are adjacent to SEO, yet distinct, established fields in their own right.
... but then there is also people-to-people interactions. Inviting new people into "Hey, checkout this new site called Inbound.org. It's a community of marketers sharing new and interesting stuff. It's kinda new, there are a few bugs to iron out, but it could turn into something. You might enjoy it!".
TL;DR: Yes, more women on the site. And more diverse people on the site.
TFL;DR: Get more people on the site .......
Thanks to Jen for starting this thread - you're an all-round rockstar!
You probably won't like my answer, but a big reason why I generally don't take part here is because I dislike the "Inbound" as a concept, especially as it relates to SEO. So I have no great desire to be associated with it.
I may certainly be the only hold out with that opinion, but it's possible there are others.
I think Lisa also hit an important point in the "Moz vibe" thing. I feel that here too. I don't hang out at Moz either.
Thanks for your thoughts, Jill. Is it simply a "branding" issue with the idea of "inbound" or do you find the content reflects this as well? Is there something different you would like to see here or from the community in general?
It's really just the branding issue with the word inbound. It makes me gag and I really don't want to have any part perpetuating it anymore than it already has been perpetuated by others. I'm still hoping it will just go away. (Probably wishful thinking, I'm sure.) To me, the word is synonymous with Hubspot and I see no reason to promote their brand of SEO.
If this site were called something else, I would be more apt to give it more of a chance. Still, that said, I'm keeping a lower profile these days in general. My target audience doesn't hang out here as it's more of a preaching to your own crowd kind of a place. Nothing wrong with that as I've done it for years. Just letting the young'ns have their turn now :)
I get that Jill. I also have some negative feelings towards the word "inbound." It does have strong branding ties to Hubspot, and it seems as though the community at large is moving away from using it. There is a strong sense of "preaching to your own crowd." I think we'd all appreciate more diversity here.
I'll second the gagging over the term "inbound", which has been ever so created and bastardized by Hubspot.
Meh. I just see it as a word. But all the content on the site is about all the stuff you ladies care about, no?
It doesn't matter if its good or not, or whether we care about the topics or not. If it perpetuates and helps to brand something I'm completely against, and if there are tons of other places I can get similar info, then why would I come here?
just wanted to let you know Jill, I'm also fundamentally opposed to the creation of 'inbound' as a term. it's all just marketing. period.
Hey Jill! I like your answer just fine. :) I seriously wanted to know and getting feedback like this is good. I definitely see it having a Moz vibe as a lot of the community is here. I tend to "manage community" no matter where I go and although I don't get paid to be here, I find myself here a lot.
Regarding the "Inbound" as a concept portion, does that have to matter? It's the name of the site, but the posts are about a lot of stuff you're interested in (I'm taking a leap and assuming).
Hey Jen, see my response to Paige above. :)
I should add that between Twitter, Facebook and Google+, who really has time to post stuff and comments to yet another site?
I CANNOT BELIEVE I HAVE TO KEEP REFRESHING THIS PAGE. IT'S SO EASY TO REFRESH COMMENTS DYNAMICALLY. Like this:
- save timestamp of last reload in a JS variable- use ajax and post back asking for new comments after that timestamp- post the new comments in the overall structure and color them differently- on a full page refresh coloring goes away, and only new comments from that moment on appear by themselves, colored distinctly- (and can easily degrade to JS disabled devices who need to keep owning the F5)
Easy! And way less expensive on the database than full refreshes. Because those that stay here to read will finger the refresh button into oblivion and this requires way more server resources to load than just new comments nicely wrapped in a json container every few seconds. Doh!
We'll get a man on that right away while the women take care of the stuff at home.
Figured out why the refresh is mandatory! Because it inflates View Count :) I knew something fishy was going on...
No, really. The commenting is just that basic. Keep calm and hit refresh ;)
I'm also wondering if we are lacking a ladies contributing may have something to do with its relationship to the SEO community. There may be online marketers in social media or community management or other areas who don't follow SEO as closely as I do who may not know about this. Do you know anyone, or are you someone, who found this through someone or something not associated with SEO/Moz?
I think that you would struggle to find any member of inbound.org (man or woman) that doesn't have some involvement with Moz (both community interaction or associate). Kind of feels like a mini Moz in here and I'm not sure if that's either a good or bad thing...
I think Rand said somewhere that he's a bit gutted that it's very Mozzy (for lack of a better word!) but I guess it was inevitable given that it was started by Moz's leader.
It's a double-edged sword - if it weren't for the Moz 'connection' then arguably there might not have been a site here at all (e.g. it might've flopped due to little interaction in the early days...)
I admit, I'm usually too busy in the evenings to do social networking, and when I'm doing social networking, I tend to hang on Facebook and Twitter, where I know more people. It's hard to keep up during the day because I'm working. So - working throughout the day + responsible for 85% of the childcare at night means that I get a couple hours in the evening to myself, and I tend to spend them reading a good book or watching Lost Girl and not on Inbound... I'm pretty good at popping in and out of Twitter, but that's a place where you can drop and run - with Inbound, it feels like it's somewhere I'd need more time to really take in and submit worthwhile things that would contribute to a conversation instead of 140 characters about what I ate for breakfast or a cute photo of my kids. :-)
Oh, and 85% of childcare + 100% of pasta-cooking :-)
(And before anyone talks smack about the percentages I do, I should point out that a large part of this is because of the not-so-family-friendly policies at my husband's workplace that don't allow him to get home before kid bedtime most days - whoever was talking up there about having more family-friendly policies in place for guys, too? A++ ... because seriously, his pasta is way better than mine, and if he ever got to come home before dinnertime, we could shift those percentages around a bit!)
Totally seconding your comments about promoting family-friendly policies for men. Gender equality needs to go both ways here :)
I think the thing is many female members probably do use inbound.org and read it on a daily basis, they probably just do not "contribute" I know because in my old agency we had 7 or so ladies in the team and they were always reading inbound in the mornings, just not contributing content. As said above SEO is very much a male dominated industry, where as industries such as Social Media seem to be more females, could be an option to advertise on Social Media sites for people to join inbound to increase overall numbers of female users, also place an emphasis on female members contributing more.
I read Inbound.org every day too, it's a very cool and helpful source, but I rarely contribute articles because very often I have doubts whether all other members will like some articles as much as I do :) And yes it looks like there's purely a male society with outstanding talents, brains and remarkable opinion.
Maybe there should be some special section for female professionals? Or just a separate discussion here what it feels like to be a woman in almost purely male professions (sure SEO is not only for men, but most of SEOs still don't wear high heels and long nails :)) In any case someone should incourage discussions in multiple ways.
I read this resource almost every day.
Well, from the human point of view, it hurts me that SEO and Internet Marketing industry is male-dominated. I fully understand why it happens and it happens for a reason, although I am a feminist and sure I would like to see more strong women personalities here, contributing to the community.
I love being in a conversation but it really takes time to dig in, so I hang out here only if I have time to do so, although it also hurts when I forget to share a good story or to upvote a good link/discussion.
So my point is that we don't have a lot of girls here because they don't find good reasons to contribute. They don't have enough time, or effort, or desire to do so.
To be honest, this attachment to tradition in the industry sometimes demotivates. Emotionally, I would say. Again, people get respect and popularity if they deserve it, and here I have no right to complain that women get less attention in inbound marketing.
Perhaps it is a natural process.
The word "time" has been used 43 times within these comments. I think that most of us are too busy to come here and engage, especially when we're already doing that on social media. I'm an active member in terms of consuming and sharing information but I can't separate two hours of my day in order to comment on every thread I upvote. I'm writing a blog about this so you'll hear some more from me soon :)
Great! I look forward to it :)
Hoping it's constructively controversial: http://insocialwetrust.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/were-missing-the-point/ I look forward to hearing your thoughts :)!
I have no insight into whether or why women might be proportionately less inclined to spend time here, but I know I'm turned off by the way most people use the site as either a promotional tool for their own content (or content they have a connection to) or as some kind of entirely pointless contest/race.
How many submissions here actually stimulate any kind of legitimate discussion? Very few and very rarely. So what's the point?
Not sure about others, but ever since the redesign happened, my visits (and contribution) to the site has come down drastically. Will be interesting to see some analytic data of how the site is performing after the relaunch.
The same happened with me, but from what I've heard it sounds like overall that traffic is up. It might be interesting to see if it's return visitors or lots of new people.
Yeah, traffic maybe up because everyone in SEO is sharing the site so they can post their not so valuable content on here. Which obviously comes with the territory of getting famous/big. Plus, like I said the layout just makes it feel like a cluster-f**. But, that's just an opinion of someone coming to the site for a year. So what do I know!
I do up-vote occasionally. Barely ever comment. But, to be honest, ever since the new design and the increase of not useful content, I've started to fade off the map. But I love Inbound.org though!!
Maybe its because of the user experience. I have to say that although inbound does have TONS of valuable content, there are still tons of improvements that needs to be made. One is not being able to down vote posts and the fact that we can't receive updates on our topics of interest.
Time. That feeling that I won't have anything valuable to contribute. Being in an Australian time zone also means that I miss out on a lot of the live discussions, leaving me to play catch-up the next day.
To be honest, I've been in inbound marketing for about 2 years, and it's the least sexist industry I've worked in. I would actually commend the Moz/Inbound community on how inclusive it generally is!
Two more observations: First, when I'm coming here, I'm coming because I want to discuss something, and having the title of the post go off-site, rather than into a discussion of that article (I'd rather have clicking on the title enter a page like this one, where the article is linked from the top of the post, with comments below, so I can choose whether I want to go read the article or jump right into the discussion). Second, while I know there are problems with people dropping a post and running, when I submitted my first discussion... no one discussed. That makes it less likely for me to return with another article/post/factoid - it's fun to discuss things on here because there's more expertise and ability to get in-depth, but I get a higher response rate elsewhere. That's not really a critique of inbound- maybe my subject was really boring to everyone but me- but a lack of initial response means that I'm less likely to contribute in the future, since I have other avenues for getting feedback.
I feel you on this. There's nothing like the feeling of 'writing into the abyss' to make you... not really want to come back. And who knows if it was the topic, the timing, the audience, etc.