Linguistic Profiling via hipteacher reminds me of a Swiss friend who asked me “What are your percentages?” She said all americans have percentages: 25% Brittish, 8% Scottish…

What Kind of American English Do You Speak? tells me that I’m

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English
35% Yankee
10% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern

I don’t know where the Dixie comes from but I’m not surprised my language shows my Yankee roots and I wonder if that upper mid-western comes from the folks who migrated to Boston from Chicago after the great fire.

Mary Hodder (napsterization) proposes an alternate ranking system for blogs. The current ranking systems depend largely on inbound links and has the odd effect of making the popular bloggers even more popular, bringing the blogosphere ever closer to the mass media.

There was a time when the web was a small community. When I started working on web software in 1995, a search on Yahoo! would list a small number of results. I don’t know whether the whole web was indexed, but I think they kept up with the majority of it. I could view most of the web pages on a topic that interested me and make my own choices about what was most interesting and credible. When the Shockwave player was released, we could view every Shockwave movie that was created as it came on-line.

As the web grew larger, it became more challenging to keep up. Thanks to the innovations of the search engines, we can do a quick search and find something relevant to our area of interest most of the time. However, with the creation of these search and ranking algorithms certain voices are omitted. I rarely look at more than a few pages of search results. Is it possible that the pages that would be most relevant to me might be later in the list? Or even worse, because of some artifact of gender use patterns could it be that pages more interesting to me will often be toward the end of the list?

I like the idea of tracking conversations instead of purely inbound links. If we had an alternate index that tracked only links from posts (rather than blogrolls and other collections), then we might see where conversations are happening.
Adina Levin describes this as a cloud presentation.

Mary Hodder has collected quotes and links on this topic (here and here).

I was intrigued by this blogher session with the subtitle: “negotiating a space dominated by men.” As a software engineer, I often find myself the lone woman in a roomfull of men. I was interested in the perspective of a woman in a completely different industry facing a similar gender imbalance.

Lynne D. Johnson gave a fantastic presentation which unexpectedly challenged some of my own assumptions about rap lyrics. I enjoy hip hop — the music, the poetry of the lyrics — but I have felt disturbed and alienated by some music of that genre which has explicit lyrics which degrade women and celebrate violence. It was enlightening to hear from a woman in the industry.

She spoke about starting to blog without a particular topic in mind, just about her thoughts and reflections on life. She became known as a “feminist hip hop blogger” without seeking that as role because she sometimes wrote from a feminist perspective about hip hop. Its funny how an audience can set their own expectations for a writer. I like hearing about how she thinks about staying true to her own voice.

Lynne spoke about being challenged as a woman in a powerful role (as an editor of Spin and Vibe) that she and other sisters were not outspoken enough against mysoginistic lyrics. She responded with a thoughful post, who’s gonna’ take the weight?, that cites many excellent articles written on the subject. In particular, she posted in its entirety an essay by Bell Hooks, “Misogyny, gangsta rap, and The Piano,” ZMagazine, February 1994.

Bell Hooks notes that “gangsta rap as a reflection of dominant values in our culture rather than as an aberrant ‘pathologica’ standpoint…Rather than being viewed as a subversion or disruption of the norm we would need to see it as an embodiment of the norm.”

Isolated in my bourgeois, predominantly white world, where mysogyny is discussed in safe discussions amongst the like-minded, it never occurred to me that these young black men are just telling it like it is. George Fox, one of the founding Quakers, did not merely create a creed of non-violent action in his peace testimony; he spoke about taking away “the occasion of all wars.” Could we take away from our society the underlying currents of hatred and violence that produce such lyrics?