Women Snubbed in Top Ten Speakers List, Industry in General

In a “blog post” listing the top ten social media speakers, The Speakers Group (TSG) listed voices for “your consideration.” Not one of the speakers was a woman, highlighting a much larger social media services industry problem where women are often overlooked for top speaking gigs, and don’t rank as well as men.

Ironically, this topic first came to mind last week when Allyson Kapin — a.k.a. @womenwhotech — led a spirited DC Media Makers session (pictured below) on the same topic. So when I saw the TSG post, I felt compelled to write. I come to this discussion as someone who organizes BlogPotomac, a successful, regional social media conference that intentionally highlights female speakers; as a blogger who has discussed the social media and PR industry’s glass ceiling both in the office and in the blogosphere; and, yes, as a man who speaks frequently on social media.

There are three problems in the TSG post: 1) A lack of transparency and professional responsibility in the blog post itself; 2) the complete snubbing of women in a highly questionable top ten list, and 3) the larger industry issue that conference organizers apparently want male speakers more than women. For those of you who are used to short posts, I apologize in advance. I am going to handle each of these three issues independently.

The word “Our” in TSG’s post title is the real clue. Because the entire roster of speakers, which does include four names who are actually recognizable by me, including friends Brian Solis and Chris Brogan, is represented by TSG. But they never disclose that in the post.

Instead, we get this piece of sales BS: We have scouted books, articles and conferences for the leading authorities and we have assembled a “top ten” list to help you in your pursuit. What are the qualifications to be listed in our top ten?

1. The individual must be established as a uniquely successful practitioner of social media and/or be frequently called on to share his or her expertise in the field — specifically as it relates to corporate and association social media practices.

2. The individual must have a proven ability to discuss social media in a way that is easily understandable and relevant to each unique audience.

3. The individual must be able to effectively engage the audience (every “expert” who writes an article is not necessarily someone you want on your platform as a speaker).

OK. If one is true, why haven’t I heard of more than half of this list, and I am Highly Active in the business? Of the top ten, only two (the aforementioned) really seem to be top ten speakers. Nevermind, that none, as in zero, of the ten are women. But more on that later. Ethical blogging first, then the bigger civil rights issue. This article is brought to you by http://crushreviews.com/best-electric-guitar/.