Monday, May 26, 2008

Why Women Don't Use RSS?

At least that's my experience if I consider the women I know. RSS is used mostly by hardcore users, but most women don't use it all. What can be the reason?

RSS is really useful. I can't image using the Net without it. I don't like doing mundane tasks like checking if a website is updated, so I let the computer do it, but not everyone thinks like that. I have a friend who is a computer expert, but doesn't use RSS because he thinks it's too primitive (the appearance that is). He likes to see all the articles at once, like in a newspaper, so he can scan the contents quickly and choose what he wants to read, so he uses the front pages of news sites which I don't see at all, because I use exclusively RSS.

Going back to the subject of women and RSS the root of the problem can be that I don't have a computer-maniac female acquaintance. Those I know want to learn only as much about the computer as necessary to use it, and from this standpoint RSS is a mystic, overly complicated, uncool thing which only computer-fanatics can appreciate.

Maybe RSS is similar to cars in this respect. Most women don't like fixing cars, because it's messy and boring, so they leave it to the pros instead. And it's true it's usually the boys who like to take things apart to see how they work and they are the ones who choose a technical carrier. Most of the computer experts are male, but is it a good thing?

Why do women avoid technical areas? Is it because of their genes, or is it because of how they are raised? Are their brains not wired for it in the first place, or is it more like the part of their gender role in society (the man fixes things, the woman cooks and takes care of the children)?

We know there are lots of excellent male cooks, so if cooking would be part of the curriculum from a really young age then boys would very much be able to perform well in the kitchen. What if we encouraged girls from a young age to take apart and fix things? Would there be more technical geniuses among them compared to the present situation?

We hear often that more women should be involved in politics, because they approach problems differently and they would bring a much needed fresh way of thinking into mainstream politics. Could they bring a fresh thought into technology too?

Our computer systems today are dominated by male thinking. They were conceived by men, implemented by men and maintained by men. (Of course, there are competent female technicians, but we're talking about averages here.) What kind of change could it bring if more women were involved in the IT industry? Would there be a significant difference in the computing landscape than today? Would programs be implemented with different approaches? Would there be less bugs in them? Or maybe more?

I'd really be interested in the answer.

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