Yesterday, March 18, 2010, Microsoft hosted an event to help motivate future female leaders in technology in the Washington D.C. area. DigiGirlz was a full day dedicated to inspire young women between 8-12th grade to pursue careers in the technology industry and dispel any stereotypes around female roles in this field.
Allison Cunard, Enterprise Services Practice Manager at Microsoft, spoke to the girls about the ratio of men and women at Microsoft and how it is growing closer to 50/50. She explained, “You will change the way people interact in the workplace” because all of the research they have done at such a young age on the Internet. Cunard left the girls with the message that technology careers are really exciting and not to limit themselves if they feel like they are not a ‘computer person’ because technology requires other skills and characteristics, such as communication, creativity and collaboration.
Congresswoman Donna Edwards also was a guest speaker who addressed the high school students about her own personal experience with technology. ExecutiveGov reported that her message was that this group of girls are on the cutting edge of so many different facets of research, science and technology of the future.
One guest speaker, Dr. Mark Drapeau talked about all of the various ways to use social media and how one can harness these tools to create opportunities. He also dove into the difference between privacy and publicity and what it means to live publicly online.
Drapeau reminded the girls that none of the Web 2.0 companies really care about them personally; it is not their job to know if the information is too public or private. When Facebook changed their business to make profiles public, and gave people the option to make private, a Microsoft researcher found that 65% kept everything completely public.
What about other social media tools? Drapeau said Twitter can be good or bad, it really just depends on how you use it. Foursquare is risky for your privacy and pleaserobme.com is now a site dedicated to raise awareness about oversharing. Overall, his message was that “you decide how to use this stuff” and “you need to be as educated as possible about privacy.”
Privacy does not only relate to teenage girls. Drapeau, a web 2.0 expert, who is now the Director of Innovative Social Engagement for Microsoft U.S. Public Sector, gave us six tips to join the “goverati” back in October. Yesterday he shared some more tips with us on privacy and how a government contracting executive can the most out of social media.
We had the opportunity to find out the main message Drapeau was getting across to the students, and why he personally decided to be involved in the DigiGirlz Day. We also learned what are some of the top ways to protect one's online reputation. While there are privacy concerns, are you and your company missing out if you are not in this space? Watch this video below to learn Drapeau's tips for government contractors and what executives need to keep in mind when navigating social media.