The Power Of Play (Ada Lovelace Day)

Ada Lovelace Day has rolled round again – a day to celebrate women in technology. Always a good thing to do, given the disparity STILL present in the tech world in terms of opportunity, representation and credit for what they do.

This year, I’m going to write about the power of playful tech usage. Jamillah Knowles works at the Beeb, and makes Pods And Blogs – the only podcast I listen to regularly (that in and of itself is worthy of note). She spends her time single-handedly making awesome broadcast journalism about the social web and the fun things that happen therein. She’s an advocate for it, and an incredibly sharp and savvy user of the things she write about.

Case in point: When we (Lobelia and I) announced we were having a a baby last year, we had a huge amount of support and congrats and general fluffy loveliness from our online chums. Jamillah told us she was going to write a ‘short story’ for the baby, by then already known as ‘Flapjack’ (still his online name).

She then, unbeknownst to us, set about not only writing the story, but getting in touch with people all over the world who were part of her online circle of curious lovelies to turn the story into a radio play. Many of the people who got involved did so because they know us as well as J, and so felt deeply invested in it (such was the power of us tweeting on behalf of a foetus!). Some were just friends of Jamillah’s who were compelled, no doubt, by the sure knowledge that anything she was involved in was worth being a part of.

The end result is genuinely astonishing. It obviously means more to us than anyone, given the endless references to little things from our lives, but loads of people have been enjoying the stories because, of course, instead of putting them on a CD or printing them on paper, she put them on her blog for anyone to see/share/enjoy.

Here are the links to the chapters:

read it, play it to your kids. Probably best not to Google ‘Cannibal Corpse’ though, unless you’re a fan of gore-obsessed death metal (the bassist in the band is a good friend of mine, hence it ending up as the name of flapjack’s doll side-kick…)

Lots of people do fun playful things online. Few fill a project with so much WIN, build a story, include anyone who wants to be included and does it while single-handedly running the best podcast on the BBC.

Hats off to Jamillah Knowles. 🙂

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  1. Just wanted to say, how much we all enjoyed the story. As Flapjacks grandma and grandpa, and the many aunts and uncles, it made it that much more special to us. Wishing you much success in all that you do. Thank you again, for writing and sharing such a wonderful creative story.

  2. I don’t know about the UK, but in the US it is purely by choice that fewer women are in tech. And I think thats a good thing. Lets face it, its JUST tech! There are far more important, nurturing things to do with your life and I think women more naturally gravitate towards those things. Tech is very much a “boys & their toys” thing. And like messing about with cars, in which you can grow up to be a mechanic if its your passion, with tech you end up in IT. Big whoop..

    I just saw an interview w/Amanda Palmer where she stated she hates her piano! Its just something she has to use to get her point across. Can you imagine a male keyboardist saying they hate their Kurzweils? NEVER! I think the women have it exactly right. :[)

    1. I guess it depends how you interpret ‘tech’ – I don’t think in the Ada Lovelace Day context is just means ‘gadgets’ – more, it’s in all the tech-enabled information technology areas, with the internet as the massive pulsating collaborative brain at the centre… So while it includes the hardware, it’s more about what people do with the hardware, as your Amanda Palmer quite suggests (albeit a little dramatically – I’m not sure I believe she does hate it… not that it matters whether I do or don’t 🙂 ) – so a day to recognise the role that women in general and the female perspective in particular have played in the world of IT, from journalism to computer games, future-music to disability-tools, is a wonderful thing, as far as I can tell 🙂

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