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Women’s Internet History Project Launches with NYC Event

Women’s Internet History Project Launches with NYC Event

Women’s Internet History Project launched its first event on August 12, 2010. The conference room was packed with women from all aspects of involvement with providing a purpose and usage of the internet and digital. The support from the attendees was overwhelming. Advisory board members Gloria Feldt and Mary Boone provided sound advice on the organization. Several luminaries came to the meeting to ready to provide direction on the project.

The project is designed to provide a platform for women who provided a purpose and usage of the internet. Different from Wikipedia in that the records align to create a visual representation of history. Records align with current events, prominent women and the development of internet. The project will help document histories of the women in this industry, provide insight for researchers and educators, and lead itself to next generations of women who want to get into this exciting and ever changing industry. Including documentation of these histories the project design will change the way history is presented.

Many great discussions opened up including areas of copyright, legal entity, ownership of the records, and whether or not to participate. Some of the women involved worked hard but received little or no recognition for their work. It is interesting to note the meeting became a little heated with a discussion over whether or not men should help with the project.

After the discussion portion of the meeting there was plenty of time for networking. It was great to see so many rekindling relationships!

The meeting place for the event was beautiful and provided by advisory board member, Renee Edelman at Edelman’s offices and help from Charlie Campbell and Daisy Hutchinson. Thank you for your help!

August 16, 2010 Post Under Featured, Tery Spataro, Uncategorized - Read More

Lori Schwab

Lori Schwab

Why did you first get online?

The why is the same as the when. For a job I had at the time, we needed to be inline or ahead of the communications curve, which is why and when I got my first external Hayes modem — remember those? This was followed with my first email account with CompUServe. It was very exciting for me as the first person in the office to have it — which drove the then IT guy crazy because he didn’t have enough knowledge to control it. Eventually I landed at NYNMA, where, obviously. the need to be online was implied.

When did you first get involved with digital and why?

My CompUServe account was in 1993. It was late 1994, when I received two job offers. The first was with a traditional design organization and the other was with NYNMA. When faced with the choice of traditional vs. uncharted territory, there was no doubt in my mind that this “Internet” thing was where I wanted to be.

How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).

I started in public relations at Ruder Finn’s Arts and Communications Counselors, specializing in visual and performing arts public relations and marketing. We provided corporations, cultural institutions, government agencies and foundations with strategic communications counseling. From there I moved to a consulting firm, working with cultural institutions, community organizations, and companies to develop visitor experiences. One of our clients was the International Design Conference in Aspen, which then hired me as the Program Director. There I was introduced to the best and most innovative ideas through art, design, communications and technology. Finally, I was hired by NYNMA as the Executive Director, charged with running and growing this important new organization.

What do think the future will hold internet/digital?

Ah, the big question, and as they say, if I knew I’d be rich. Clearly the impact of both Social Media and Mobile technologies are the current trends that will lead future developments in the short term. Further, I suspect that the days of completely free quality original content are numbered.

Beyond that, frankly, I have no clue and I’m always suspicious of those that emphatically declare they know what’s coming.

This I know for sure, whatever happens is dependent on supporting and encouraging the creative and innovative work and minds of people who, as of today, we don’t even know exist.

August 6, 2010 Post Under Featured, Uncategorized - Read More

Aliza Sherman

Aliza Sherman

Why did you first get online?

I first used an external modem to connect with a BBS in 1987 on my
Amstrad 1640 desktop computer. I had purchased the computer and a dot
matrix printer to type out my many stories that I had hand written
into spiral notebooks since I was in grade school. I had dreams of
publishing a book and felt that typing out manuscripts would be a good
first step.

At the time, I was living in Manhattan with my sister and two other
women who were very concerned about my computer usage which kept me
busy every evening and into the wee hours of the night. I, on the
other hand, was fascinated with words on the glowing screen and the
information I could access and post.

My favorite story about learning about the Internet is about being
logged into a BBS one night and some words flashed on the screen “Do
you want to talk?” I jumped out of my seat, ran to the window and
closed the blinds, thinking that someone was watching me or that my
computer was talking to me. Hey, I’d seen War Games. Eventually I
discovered that there were other people logged into the same BBS that
I was at the same time and that we could talk to one another through a
chat function. BTW, the person asking to chat with me that first time
was a 17 year old boy from Brooklyn.
When did you first get involved with digital and why?

My Internet hobby was growing, and I looked for every possible way to
bring my love of being online and onilne communications to my jobs. At
the time I purchased my first computer, I was in the music business
and over the years tried to get some of the bands I worked with such
as Metallica and Def Leppard online but my bosses resisted. Then when
I was running a nonprofit organization on domestic violence awareness,
I created the first online resources on domestic violence prevention
including a forum on a national BBS Women’s Wire, on America Online
and eventually on the Web.

Once I learned about the Web and took a $10 class on basic HTML, I was
hooked because of the incredible power for building and creating that
HTML afforded me – and anyone – and for the global reach. I began
getting emails from around the world thanking me for publishing
domestic violence research and safety information on the Web – a site
called SafetyNet that no longer exists.

Before the advent of the Web, around 1992, I began consulting clients
about email marketing and online focus groups using listservs as the
interactive platform. By 1995, I was building websites for clients
including launching the first online information about breast cancer
for Avon’s Breast Cancer Awareness Crusade. They were my first major
client for my Internet consultancy CGIM (Cybergrrl Internet Media
later renamed Cybergrrl, Inc.) although we initially launched them on
America Online, not the Web. I build their first website for $1200 and
consulted Avon Products, Inc.’s marketing and legal department about
the ins and outs of building a presence and community online.
How would you describe your work and professional interests in the
1990’s (or 80’s etc).

I was immersed in all things Internet but loved the Web. While we
built and communicated on a variety on commercial online services
(anyone remember eWorld?!?), the Web held so much fascination for me.
I built the first three websites for women, predating Women.com and
iVillage by over a year. The major difference between what we did with
Cybergrrl and our “competitors” is that we paved the way on a
shoestring, and they came into the space fully funded, using us as an
example of the viability – and opportunity – in reaching women online.

While working on the Web, I also began writing books for women
including “Cybergrrl: A Woman’s World Wide Web” and “Cybergrrl@Work.”
Speaking engagements followed, and I was lucky enough to be flown
around the world to speak at corporations, conferences, and to
governments about the issues surround women and the Internet and
nonprofits and the Internet. I lived and breathed the digital world
and loved being able to bring complex and confusing technical
information to women and girls so they could learn and benefit from
technology.
What do think the future will hold internet/digital?

Every day, there is something new, some new way to create, connect,
communicate. I’m amazed at how far we’ve come but also how far we
haven’t. I’m still irked that so many technology companies are led by
men, hire mostly men and are funded by men, particularly in
programming. And that the presence of women in any power positions or
the upper echelons of tech is still comparable or often in worse shape
than it was in the 90s. One step forward, two steps back, and the same
barriers- and sexism – we faced back then exist today. We have all
learned how to navigate around the barriers to find our successes, but
the fact they still exist is pathetic. But onward and upward.

July 5, 2010 Post Under Aliza Sherman, Featured, Uncategorized - Read More

Brenda Scott

Brenda Scott

Why did you first get online?

In 1982, I was in the Navy and stationed in London England right out of a 3 week computer school. It was there, that I found that we could actually type back and forth to Pensicola, FL to get our advancement test scores before anywhere else in the fleet. We would be the ones transferring all of the Atlantic Fleet test scores out to them once they had all been compiled and transmitted to us. Once I returned to the states in 1984, I discovered that there were internet connections called “BBS” that was very intriguing to me. I joined a local BBS out of Bristol, CT. Of course they could only have 5 people on line at the same time and later expanded to 10 people. I used to go to a chat room and play moderator on Trivia night. Occasionally, all of us would meet and go bowling and there I was able to put faces to the mysterious people typing to me. The couple that started the BBS decided to drop it as it became too expensive to expand.

When did you first get involved with digital and why?
I first got heavily involved with digital while I was in the Navy. Of course the old days consisted of punched cards transmitted to pay and personnel records. Later, I learned about data bases, email and just how powerful te digital age was becoming. I was constantly striving to learn new things about computers. All of this started when I was in High School and my father took apart a Commodore 64 to show me what made it work. He played a game tape (similar to an audio tape) and I heard the squelch that he explained to me was what told the circuits what to do. I was hooked. I wanted to know more! I continued on with my Navy computer career, learning all I could possibly learn and then transferred to the Army in 2001 where I was able to work in repair and network setup.

How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).

I’m a business owner specializing in music for the elderly. Of course all of my music is now digital. I’m still amazed at how far the digital age has gone and look forward to the next 20+ years of technology that is out there waiting to be put out to the public. The 80’s would be described as more of a discovery stage for me in the digital world. The 90’s would be catagorized as the “fine tuning”. All of my computers and laptops are networked to one central location in my house. Every civilian job that I’ve worked in has been computer based. “If my personality isn’t enough for you, my computer skills certainly are!”

What do think the future will hold internet/digital?
The possibilities are endless!! It was a sad day when the government decided that new technology was hitting the streets too quickly which caused that new technology to slow. I want to see “today” how far we are with new digital technology. I fear that most of the general public will see their privacy diminished unless they learn how to defend themselves against digital preditors. I can say that I’m as excited today as I was in the 80’s during my discovery era to see what’s next.

June 25, 2010 Post Under Featured, Uncategorized - Read More

Danielle Cyr

Danielle Cyr

Why did you first get online?

I had moved to LA and my sister told me about an LA BBS. I thought it would be a good way to meet people in my new city. For the most part, though, it was just creepy guys trying to pick up girls. 😉 It was a “prehistoric” Facebook.
When did you first get involved with digital and why?

I first got involved in 1998. I was a junior attorney at a midsized NYC law firm doing tedious work when the internet industry exploded. The companies and the people seemed more in-line with who I was/am and I started going to every industry event I could in an effort to try to get business (even though my firm didn’t expect me to bring in business). Mostly, though, I just wanted to be around the people who were doing cutting-edge things in a new medium. They were smart, were able to think creatively and had common sense. My fav kind of people!

June 16, 2010 Post Under Featured, Uncategorized - Read More

Lydia Kidwell Sugarman

Lydia Kidwell Sugarman

Why did you first get online?

Mine wasn’t the earliest experience. I saw and sent my first emails in 1992 w/o really understanding how it worked. But, I was so intrigued, blown away really by this new disruptive technology. At the time, I was selling syndicated television programming for a new company called Summit Media that has gone on to great success. Oh, by the way, that’s where I also started using Apple products. I had my own Mac in my office.

I bought my own first Mac, a 520 laptop with an internal 14.4 modem in 1994 and discovered all the listservs. Walrus @ $35/month was my Internet provider. I later added an external 56K modem, whoo-hoo!

When did you first get involved with digital and why?
In early ’95 I made the transition to working in “New Media.” It was way more fun and exciting than program sales and I was convinced it would reshape how we received and would eventually interact with content. In ’97 I had the privilege of working under Bruce Judson at Cellularvision. Bruce had been General Manager, Time Inc. New Media, where he was the co-founder of Time Warner’s Internet initiatives, including Pathfinder. We used to discuss how we could leverage the Cellularvision technology to effect convergence of Internet, subscription television programming, and e-commerce.

How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).
By 1997, I was sending out a monthly newsletter, using Word, Eudora, and Mindspring.com (bought by Earthlink, Inc.) to 2,500 women cyclists. This grew into the first online magazine for chick cyclists, GirlGroove.com and an e-commerce site called TheGoodEgg.com.

My last “job” was as Managing Editor at quickly defunct WeTheShoppers.com where I continued building community, creating content, doing market research into how women use the Internet, and learning what not to do in a start-up.

Along the way, I always maintained my love affair with email and email marketing, the 800-lb. gorilla of the Internet. So, in January, 2001, I officially launched PrivateLabel Interactive, an email marketing consultancy focused on helping SMBs get online and get their messages out. Since May, 2001, we’ve been an Email Solution Provider of PrivateLabel Mail.

This is a particularly exciting time as we are quickly approaching launch of V3.0 of the greatly expanded ESP technology under a new brand, Venntive.

Simultaneously, work on the startup business, Caduces, a consumer-focused health platform progresses. Stay tuned for that later in 2010!

What do you think the future will hold internet/digital?

After nearly 20 years, I am again blown away. The potential represented by brilliant engineering combined with nearly limitless imaginations of the people who have literally been born into this digital world is frequently beyond my comprehension.

I think we will in the very near future be walking computers of the digital sort. I think we will have the option to have RFID chips inserted under our skin that will hold all our health information, at the very least. Greater use of pill-size cameras, DNA mapping, and finely targeted mapping of the body will make diagnosis and treatment extremely exact and accurate.

Seamless entertainment experiences will a commonplace aspect of our daily lives. It all already exists, it’s just a matter of pulling it together and making it cost-effective.

How nice would it be for our refrigerators to automatically submit an order to replace what’s needed and schedule a delivery when we’re sure to be home? How about downloading our daily calendar to program our vehicles to take the best route to run all our errands or sales calls?

It’s limitless. Isn’t that great?!

So, it’s as easy today as it was 15 years ago to tell you why I moved into digital. I wake up every morning totally excited by the possibilities of what the day will bring.

June 16, 2010 Post Under Featured, Uncategorized - Read More

Cecilia Pagkalinawan

Cecilia Pagkalinawan

Why did you first get online?

In 1993 bought a Mac PowerBook and it came with a “fax modem” and an AOL start-up disk. That was when I first went on the internet and got an e-mail account.

When did you first get involved with digital and why?
I was working as a media specialist at Young & Rubicam. I was immediately drawn to the internet and started clipping any article about the internet and started distributing them internally to key management. My distribution list went from 8 to 35 in 8 cities. One day, clients such as Coca Cola started asking, what is this internet thing and what should we do about it? I wound up becoming the in-house internet expert. Eventually, our clients needed websites and I had to find web agencies to develop them. I met with K2 Design, Razorfish, and http://www.facebook.com/l/3c15e;Agency.com. K2 Design wound up hiring me away. I left Y&R for K2 in 1995 and became the 6th employee. K2 eventually went public with over 65 employees and I was VP of Creative Affairs and Client Services at age 26 working with clients such as Audi, AOL, IBM, Nine West, and Toys R Us.

How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).

Work was pretty intense. We had to create some kind of structure so we can compete head to head with large agencies and appear professional instead of a bunch of scrappy kids. We had a pitch for MCI’s MarketplaceMCI and went head to head against their ad agency, Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer Euro/RSCG and wound up beating them. My background at Y&R helped in making sure our presentation was top notch and MCI wouldn’t be able to tell we’re a small firm of 10 people working out of former hotel rooms in the Village. Doug Cleek the Creative Director did the designs and I actually wrote all the copy for MCI’s first e-commerce effort back in 1996. After winning the business we then created online shops for Footlocker, Champs, Gourmet Foods, etc. Back then, you had to print out the order form and fax it in.

What do you think the future will hold internet/digital?

Internet and digital will be so integrated within our lives that we won’t need to mention or differentiate between internet and digital. It will just be. Mobile has done so much to immerse our lives and merge online with offline. So much of our data and information will be shared that privacy and permission marketing will be a non-issue. Brands micro-targeting to us, utilizing our digital footprint and public data will just be as expected as product placement on TV.

June 16, 2010 Post Under Featured, Uncategorized - Read More

Dara Tyson

Dara Tyson

Why Did You First Get Online?

Coming out of the book publishing/retailing world, I was attuned to what was happening in the industry from the mid 80s because of professional necessity. At home, we had a TRS 80 back in 1987 and graduated to an IBM XT in 1989. This was all pre-Windows and MS-DOS wasn’t intuitive to use nor any fun at all. I needed the cheat sheet to execute most commands and it was an exercise in frustration.

When did you first get involved with digital and why?

In 1995, I was heading up public relations for a gaming company and developing a love of technology. I had to ramp up real quick for the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) the gaming industry was one of the drivers in pushing the technology forward. I believe Internet Explorer 1.0 launched that year and was I ever ready for it. I had a sense that digital was going to be huge in so many unimaginable ways and I wanted to be part of it.

How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).

From 1983-1990, I headed up the public relations/communications area for Waldenbooks and its subsidiaries, including WaldenSoftware. After spending several years in market research, I went to a head up the communications effort for the aforementioned gaming company. I then joined Mecklermedia, the producer of Internet World, the trade shows, the Web site and the magazine as the pr/investor relations point person. That was the cat bird seat to view all that was being introduced in the industry. The trade shows were super charged with companies holding competing press conferences to announce and launch new products/services. And thousands of reporters and analysts would converge to capture it all.

What do you think the future will hold internet/digital?

I believe sensory components will be added for mass consumption…getting the feel, smell, taste experiences. All that is external will be able to be integrated into our digital experience. That Star Trek transporter isn’t so far in the future…the abillity to materialize halfway around the world on a whim, then be home for dinner. What’s that great line? “If it can be conceived, it can be achieved”…it’s only a matter of time…and technology.

June 16, 2010 Post Under Featured, Uncategorized - Read More

Marina Zurkow

Marina Zurkow

Why did you first get online?

In 1992 I bought my first modem and joined echo. It was a social move, a move made out of curiosity and a growing penchant to hide out in the world of text (I never loved the phone and I still prefer email). I was more of a lurker than participant, but I found the format fascinating. When the Village Voice published the article about the evil clown who was impersonating people n his MUDD (A Rape in Cyberspace: How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database Into a Society by Julian Dibbell), I was hooked.  Narrative, play, an open shifting audience, deception and new rules.

When did you first get involved with digital and why?

I did not grow up on computers. I’d done graphic design and film the old school ways. I first touched Photoshop in 1992, at an arts residency at the Banff New Media Institute. Before that, the closest I’d come to digital was a Mac Classic at my job for Japanese TV (and we still had to fax all our docs from NY to Tokyo). It was love at first sight. Total magic.

I was initially enamored with the internet was the freedom of self-publishing. After working behind the velvet ropes of small film festivals, the internet audience was as wide as one was crafty. Even in 1994, I reached a relatively wider audience than I’d been able to in traditional venues as a filmmaker and artist. I liked the chain of networks that the internet offered – curators, self-designated style hubs, artists.

How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).

90’s – I was the founding design director at Sonicnet. I learned html and flash from the bottom up. We were very hands-on, and experimental. When Sonicnet was acquired by Prodigy, I left. I went on to do freelance work with IBM Research, MTV, Razorfish, and others.  Created a series of experimental animations, culminating in the 35 minute web episodic, braingirl (http://www.thebraingirl.com/). Oddly, by 2001 when I’d completed the series, I found myself back more in film festival / grant / art paradigms. But it really was a thrill when plumbers and office workers wrote me with feedback.

What do you think the future will hold internet/digital?

More of everything, until the oil runs out 🙂

I think it’s time for people to consider the internet as something not only virtual, but also as a depleter of real resources. It’s a kind of microcosm of the ideology that resources are infinite, for those who have access to them.

The internet has become this quickly changing ecosystem – a vast, biodiverse system of interdependent parts.

We all definitely have increased ADD; there’s always more and more  info, also more and more content, but mostly too much info and an increasingly harder time focusing. People will have to relearn in this new exponentially increasing context, to discern for themselves the difference between content and information.

More About Marina:

Marina Zurkow is a video and media artist with a focus on animation. Her works have taken the form of multi-channel videos, customized multi-screen computer pieces, performative and interactive works.

Since 2000, Zurkow has exhibited at The Sundance Film Festival, The Rotterdam Film Festival, The Seoul Media City Biennial, Ars Electronica, Creative Time, The Kitchen, The Walker Art Center, The National Museum for Women in the Arts, and Eyebeam, and other venues. She has been a NYFA Fellow, a Rockefeller New Media Fellow, and a Creative Capital grantee. Zurkow is on faculty at NYU’s Interactive Technology Program (ITP), and lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is represented by Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New York.  http://www.o-matic.com

June 7, 2010 Post Under Featured, Uncategorized - Read More

Laura Rich

Laura Rich

JWhy did you first get online?
Originally? We had an Apple IIe at home in the early 1980s.
Otherwise, 1993, AOL and Panix.

When did you first get involved with digital and why?
I took over a column at Inside Media, where I was a reporter, covering the digital doings of advertisers, from CD-ROMs to the new websites they were launching.

How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).
I was a journalist focused on the interactive business of media and advertisers/agencies.

What do you think the future will hold internet/digital?
In other words, what is Web 4.0, 5.0, etc.? I’m excited about the augmented reality stuff we’re starting to see and think that Internet/digital will increasingly meld into our lives in intuitive, instinctual ways.

June 7, 2010 Post Under Featured, Uncategorized - Read More