Wednesday 24 March 2010

Suw Charman-Anderson

When the Daily Telegraph (the Britain’s most conservative newspaper, whichever flavour of C you use) thinks that you are one of the The 50 most influential Britons in technology then you are obviously someone to be taken notice of. I first became aware of Suw when the UK digital community started coalescing around the idea of defending our rights amongst all the many sets of rights that have come under attack in recent times. Suw’s enthusiasm for effective accessible communication was, I believe, a key factor in getting the grass roots support that meant the Open Rights Group grew into an effective organisation that mixes technologists, lawyers and policy wonks with only the bare minimum of scuffles over the football at break time. I blame credit Suw as one of the key people who re-energised my interest in politics in general but specifically the science and engineering of the processes behind it and the importance of them being open (as in door as well as in receptive) and being involved with that sphere today.

After Suw handed over the reigns at ORG I continued to see her name popping up in my Internet light-cone communicating on the topics you would expect such as digital rights, social media, writing and welsh; but also (in a great demonstration of the theory that social media is the “human interest” sections of old media but more so) chocolate & vodka, weddings, and kittens.

Obviously over the last 15 months the key plank in Suw’s mission to inform that I have been party to has been centred around Ada Lovelace Day which last year successfully broke out of the blogosphere and received coverage world wide. Already the hashtag ‘#ald10’ is trending on twitter in the UK and the number of blog posts far outstrips my ability to read even a small proportion of them in time snatched between work, so it would seem to be yet another success. To shamelessly dismember an old proverb, show a man a blog post enlightening him about women in science and technology and he will read for half an hour, get the world to blog about women in science and technology and he may be part of the fight against the

stupid puerile misogynistic manner with which some of the more powerful voices in the tech community - some of them repeat offenders - treat women

Congratulations Suw for the concept and execution of Ada Lovelace Day itself, be sure to lift a celebratory pint of Ringwood or Badger next time you are back in the old county; what is the next challenge?

Finally if you want to see more evidence of Suw passion for science today, if ALD wasn’t enough (her post is here), she is showing her geologist roots (and her love of language) as part of the social media coverage of a near unpronounceable volcano erupting.


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