Older. Female. Blogger. But No Geek.

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Hands on keyboard Who inhabits the cybervillage? Mostly it seems younger people, and, in the more technological parts of that so-called village, men. But there are a few self-proclaimed women 'geeks' of a certain age out there too; and some of them are claiming a cyber-space for their own ideas. I don't profess to be a geek; but maybe I match the profile in other ways.

It's interesting that, as we mark the eightieth anniversary in Britain of full female emancipation via the Equal Franchise Act (2 July 1928), the issue of 'older female geeks' seems to be coming to the fore.

In July 1928 women in the U.K. were awarded the vote on the same basis as men. And in the Summer of 2008 it looks like they are to be recognised as enfranchised also as legitimate inhabitants of the blogosphere.

Older female geeks who blog
As Natalie d'Arbeloff of Blaugustine says in her Guardian article of 13 June '08, there aren't many 'older female geeks' as yet, but this species does exist as a measurably sized group. She lists amongst their number Penelope Farmer of Rockpool in the Kitchen, Fran of Sacred Ordinary, Marja-Leena Rathje, Elizabeth Adams of The Cassandra Pages, Tamarika of Mining Nuggets and Rain of Rainy Day Thoughts.

Self-evidently sterling women, all of them; but am I correct in thinking that not one of these writer is actually British-born and still living in the UK? North America features highly in this list; though not Britain. I, being so domiciled, am pondering this....

Geeks or bloggers?
And are all bloggers geeks, I wonder? For me, the interest lies in the writing, in getting one's head around particular or puzzling 'facts', experiences and perceptions, or perhaps placing an engaging (I hope) photograph in a pleasing or interesting way. The technicals are of significance only insofar as I have to do them to achieve what I want - just like driving my car.

The skill in designing my blog has been entirely Nick Prior's, not mine. My role as we develop the website has been merely to explain or think up what features I have a feeling would help, and Nick then interprets them, to deliver something real.

Claiming a blogosphere space
But being a geek (though I'm not even sure Nick's one of those, he's skilled and knowledgeable, not just an excellent technician) isn't what matters. It's surely the ideas which count?

Today I read another Guardian piece, by Cath Elliott, in which she discusses the use older women make of their blogs to look at experiences and perceptions which might otherwise remain unremarked.

Now that I find really fascinating. And I'd like to think in part it's what I do right here.

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4 Comments

Hilary, many thanks for mentioning my Guardian article and for linking. You're quite right that those older women bloggers I listed, apart from Penelope, are in North America. It's just coincidence that those I've come to know best in the UK and Europe are younger than the age group I was writing about, but I'm sure there must be many more mature female bloggers on this side of the pond. In fact some of them have been kind enough to write to me after reading that article.

Are all bloggers geeks? Definitely not, and one of the attractions of blogging is that it doesn't require any geeky skills at all. Setting up a blog only takes a few minutes of following simple instructions on most blogging services (like Blogger.com for instance). But of course some of us are by nature of the DIY tribe and will pursue technical intricacies for the adventure of it.

Thanks so much for the link!

I agree. These are people with a point of view and the nouse to use the web to express it. How relevant is their age?

Nick, I'd say it's not relevant at all. However I do come across very creative people (especially female) of a certain age who would benefit enormously as well as enjoy being out there in cyberspace but are held back from trying it out by a fear of what they see as complicated technology.

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