Thursday, April 5, 2007

"Gender Gap in Cyberspace"

In her short article, "Gender Gap in Cyberspace," originally published in Newsweek in 1994, Deborah Tannen explains "how [she] managed to be a [computer] pioneer without becoming an expert." She describes the purchase of her first computer, aided by a co-worker, in 1980, and the why and how she used, and has used computers since then. Juxtaposing her use to his (her co-worker, Ralph) she hammered out gender differences, that, of course, she has drawn with many shades of grey. She noticed within her own use of computers she left technical know-how to her male counterparts, like Ralph, enjoying for herself the communicative and usability aspects, like emails and word processing. Through her relationship with Ralph, she found that he, and other male users, devoted much of their free time to being tech-savvy, mostly by means of self education. Interesting, as well, was the ability of men to open up more in emails as compared to face-to-face situations. I think that Tannen's observations and conclusions are very up to par, however, I also think it is important that she avoids absolutes, which, especially with gender as the only variable, are hard to claim.

Tannen, Deborah. "Gender Gap in Cyberspace." A Virtual Commonplace. 16 May 1994. Newsweek. 5 Apr. 2007 -

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