WEAVE Meeting #1 - Discussion

We then had a full introduction of the participants and statement on what each person sees as the vision:

Beth Scannell (415, 695.1663): By profession I work at Hewlett-Packard in Information Technology. I do a lot of things; web development, business analysis. I'm also working on a master's degree in anthropology, where I'm looking at cultural development in virtual reality. I mostly interact with men, so I'm interested in seeing what kind of impact women can have. I'm also expecting a little daughter. This (WEAVE) is exciting! I think there's so much women can contribute to Cyberspace and to the culture that's lacking in what I can see. The more we can get together and discuss these things, the more we can have that impact.

Sun MacNamee: My friends call me Sun. I have been a tech chick for a long time. Eva and I started a computer business together. Originally called Utopian Technology. It became a huge business here called Abacus, Inc. We pioneered a lot of concepts for getting computers in the hands of people who might be afraid of technology. We called ourselves a one stop shop and we were dealing with Apples and Compaqs primarily. I'm passionately driven by a belief that the tools we're given, including our minds, are tools to help all the creatures on the planet. Technology is potentially beneficial if used well. I'm excited to be part of a women's partnership to turn this technology into tools and not weapons, and to help people achieve their dreams. I want to help people have access to all the resources they need. I'm an evangelist, a devotee. I want to see these tools used wisely, not stupidly. I think if we can get women interested in the technology, then it will be used for education and beauty; if it's going to be left to the men, it will be used for war and domination.

Eva Way: I love interacting with women. I have a dream I'd like to see everyone connected to doing what they want to do connected to money. Lots of potential for computers to do a good thing. Thank goodness there is still room in this industry for funky people. I'd like to work less by being creative, and hope by working with women together I will get in touch with other parts of my brain that are too strained and not as creative as I would like. VR worlds are already happening, as people want to be in touch in more interesting ways. WEAVE chapters in all sorts of countries is an exciting idea, to put women in communication with each other will help them feel less isolated.

Stephanie Sutton: I am very committed to women. I have a 14 year old daughter so I am committed to making a future for her that would work for me. I have been in an uphill battle working with men for 10 years. When I really got into technology work, I was astounded at how hard it was to just be equal. This has been with me since childhood since I was raised by an egalitarian father. I think it's our concern to target young girls because the stuff is out about how effected girls are by third grade. I watched it in my daughter. She shrunk as a person in adolescence. She got concerned about her appearance and not her mind. Technology wasn't an easy thing to go toward for me, being very girly and dislexic all my life, and if only that could have been given to me at a young age. To get technology to young girls is what is really important.

Judy Rubin: I work at Fujitsu as a contractor in a virtual world, the Dreamscape and Pride Universe (in CompuServe) and another on the Web. I mostly just write stuff. I've written documentation and press materials. I have had a lot of opportunity to observe people interacting with avatars, and have a bunch of concerns about virtual worlds. I think the most interesting thing is that nothing really happens in a virtual world. Everything happens and nothing happens. What really happens is what goes on between the people and what they invent from moment to moment. Being a community activist in my own right, I see the same kinds of things go on in virtual worlds as in the real world. I see women come to the forefront in community - women who deal with complexity, communication. It's important to have women in a virtual community. If we're going to succeed with virtual communities in a commercial sense, women are the ones who shop. They have to bring women in and bring money there. If it's desired that they do it, they have to be reached. For me, there is this thing about diversity. Right now, I think of virtual worlds as the ultimate suburb. You can shut people out. The population isn't very diverse. I think this is what's wrong in the real world as well. So I'd like to see a real diverse urban experience in a virtual world. For WEAVE, what happens between people in the real world must happen in the virtual worlds. We have to reach out to people who aren't coming in and make it more diverse.

Angel: Thank you for calling this gathering. Part of my WEAVE is that I was a technovirgin. I lived in a studio without electricity. When I met Sun and her partner Allan, I was initiated into the world of technology and began to see how my vision of global communications could be proliferated through technology. Regarding virtual worlds, I don't know that much about them. I had some difficulty with the representation of the avatar as just a head. We need our whole bodies to be active. My interest in what could be done in virtual worlds is specific: cultural diversity, meeting people from places we haven't heard from before, where there is a way for them to communicate from afar in order to discuss common issues concerning the evolution of our planet and humanity. I'm interested in some artistic exchange in virtual worlds so that we could learn about another culture. I'm very interested in children being able to communicate with other people from diverse parts of the world so they can explore their interests. I don't know how you can be artistic in a virtual world except through the graphics in the creation of the world itself. But how can this technology really work to provide a diversity of cultural and creative exchange?

Barbara Hoffer: I was especially excited when you were considering the date for this meeting and that it was as important for you as it was for me to be here. I'm somewhat of a technovirgin. Since I've been in the professional world, I have been working with women, in education (for 12 years) and community building (back on the east coast). My background from there brought me into the business world because I like to be around people who are making things happen. My business experience has been focused on working with entrepreneurial women for the last 15 years. But this technology is very foreign. I've wanted to use it to communicate with many of my friends who I know are on line. But my fear is that this technology would put people in front of a screen (I'm not a TV watcher) and that it would be a barrier to communication. I think it's apropos that we're meeting here in North Beach right before Valentine's Day, because I think we'll use this technology to bring love to the planet. Stephanie, you talked about reaching out to young girls. I just got back from the southwest. Last night in New Mexico, I was speaking in the same hotel as Betty Friedan, who spoke about the coming of age. We are living in the world we live in because of her work in the 60s. What she spoke about is what's critical for WEAVE. She spoke about not allowing women of any age to feel left out. We need to reach not only the young girls, but the older ones, whose work makes our achievements possible. We can bridge the generations.

Wendy: I wanted a women's group. I wanted to transform not only virtual space, but the way women look at themselves. My first name for the group was WIVES, to signify women being married to their spirit. But Barbara said she probably wouldn't join an organization called WIVES.

Eva: Well, you either want to be one, or don't want to be one. But either way it's one of the most emotionally charged words in the world.

Wendy: So I went over to WEAVE, Women Entering as Avatars into Virtual Environments, with thanks to Barbara for helping me conceive of the name. Interactivity is taking place more and more through Webcasting and virtual environments. We're here to WEAVE our creativity, our feminine intuition.

Maggie: What would be the practical way, a concrete example of something WEAVE can do?

Wendy: WEAVE is a SIG that is a part of the Contact Consortium, in which the co-founder, Bruce Damer, supports fully. After "Earth to Avatars", the Contact Consortium has multitudes of high level corporate sponsors. Basically, we can go places and be taken seriously under the Contact Consortium umbrella. We have a mecca of support at our fingertips.

WEAVE is going to be a gathering of like-minded women like we have here. We will also have virtual gatherings. I'm thinking of using OnLive. I also found out tonight that I'll be a contractor at OnLive. I see us having a balance between virtual and real in WEAVE. I have contact with women in 7 countries who want to be a part of WEAVE with us. I even see an international conference once a year for WEAVE.

Maggie: What would be the reason for everyone to get together and chat?

Wendy: I have many ideas of what we can do together. One, for example, is that we can hold seminars and classes for young girls. But we also need to help people in our generation, cause the kids are more techno savvy than we are. Through Match.Com I used to hold workshops for women. If we continue progressive things as a group, we can also generate publicity.

Stephanie: We can have a seal called "WEAVE approved". We can examine what's going on. My experience is that working with men in conferences, men keep women out. If we create a WEAVE approved, they know we're going to come in and check out whether things are in balance. Something to have some power in this industry.

Wendy: Another option is that we can be like NOW, like they are in the political realm, we'll be in the virtual realm. We'll have standards from women. My mission is for Women to WEAVE their voice and skills into the virtual landscape in order to invoke GREAT influence and change for the betterment of society and business.

Barbara: And values. An exercise I can see this group doing is to look at our personal values and from that choose actions that define purpose.

Wendy: When I hear values I think judgment.

Eva: I'm pro judgment.

Barbara: The question is what is the group going to do?

Stephanie: Put an internet connection in the hands of every girl and take this straight to Al Gore.

Barbara: We should be in touch with the Women's Foundation because they want to empower girls.

Judy: We can make contact with women's organizations and weave them in.

Stephanie: I can see us having a booth at Contact Consortium and we should have something for housewives, too, who are intimidated by technology. There are so many women who are being left out.

Sun: My mission statement is Women in technology working for the world.

Judy: I like enabling and/or creating meaningful social experiences.

Eva: I like a worldwide women's theme, reaching people who are different and the same.

Beth: All kinds of diversity, indigenous people.

Sun: There are 400,000,000 people who feel that they don't have a voice in the UN. The #1 problem women around the world have is getting their husbands to stop beating them.

Maggie: There is so much great material out there that's not getting out there because it's not moving. A friend of mine did a CD on domestic violence, it's incredible. But no one knows about it.

Wendy: WEAVE is about compelling content. WEAVE can be a network to get that out.

Judy: But if you put it in a women's site, only women will get it. I'd like this stuff to get out into the mainstream.

Stephanie: But what we haven't done is create the Girl's Club planet wide. My experience is that we need a Girl's Club. This is something that came to me 6 years ago. I get reaction to this all the time: it's an idea called the WON Station, Women on the Net. My vision is a TV station that broadcasts for women 24 hours a day. I think that we can weave that in. I'm not a feminist per se but ....

Judy: What's a feminist per se if you're not one?

Steph: I'm a revolutionary.

Wendy and Steph: We can do an all female Webcast.

Sun: PeaceNet has some very highly placed women. They put in internet facilities for all the UN conferences. There are women on line and organizations of women on line. We have to connnect with them.

Wendy: You have to clean up your own backyard before you spread your wings. This is a WEAVE mind meld. The next meeting is going to be open to the public. I hope to see you all there. I'd like to base it around an event; a political or social event. Keep your ears and eyes open and let me know if there is something happening that is worth noting. I have a WEAVE mailing list of all the people in the months who've expressed interest. I'll be doing a weekly or biweekly newsletter. So keep me filled up with content on what we see and what we donšt see. Another thing is that I don't do HTML. I need a Webmaster.

Sun: I'll train.

Beth: I'm not a designer, but I know HTML, so I'll deal with the notes.

Wendy: I'll clean up the notes and flow them to Beth.

Angel: I'm into getting a list of women's organizations around the world and getting contact with them.

As the first WEAVE meeting ends, the group of women form an enclosed circle, in which they put their arms around each other and close with great fervor and with great focus in being the powerful creative women that we are, and what we can create together through a group such as WEAVE.