After I posted the 10 boiled thought leaders I read, I noticed (as did others) that they were all dudes. Probably not a surprise given the population of dudes in tech but lots of people said, “Hey! what about the women?” women.jpg

Unlike the first cloud post, I wasn’t sure where to start. So, I asked for lots of recommendations of top women bloggers and thought leaders. I asked on Twitter, I emailed and IMed some folks. I looked at some of the other “Top Women” lists. And then I unscientifically choose ten folks that interested me. Since they span lots of different subjects and interests, I didn’t mash-up the top ten words across all ten folks.

Having done this a second (exhausting) time, I can tell you that someone needs to make a scraper that sucks down every blog post and feeds into a “real-time” cloud generator so that this is automatic. Why do we need to tag anything? Our clouds should be automated, based on what we write and trendable. Is “Microsoft” on the rise or the decline? What’s the reverse of the cloud (often is the smaller words that are the most telling). BTW, props to Justin for scraping and uploading half of these.

1. Kara Swisher

Kara’s words seem apropos of WSJ coverage. Her two-word cloud are even more in line, with words like “News Corp,” “troubled internet,” “writer’s strike,”and “unsolicited bid.” (photo credit)


2. Anne Zelenka

First time I ran into Anne was when she interviewed me. At first I thought “tags” was a copy/paste error, but her posts often refer to other resources. I liked seeing that “life,” “connect” and “identity” were top words. Her two-word cloud expose “social networking,” “sticky notes,” and “work life.” (photo credit)


3. Molly Holzschlag

This was one of my favorite clouds so far. Such great words both big and small. Diverse, emotional, topical. Great stuff. Her two-word cloud is vastly different, with big emphasis on “web standards,” and neat gems like “twitter sucked,” and “global differences.” (photo credit)


4. Shelley Powers

I had a hard time finding a pic of Shelley. Shelley, what’s the deal? Get some stuff on Flickr or something. :) Shelley is obviously way techier than I am. Her two word cloud has nuggets like, “command line,” “blood pressure,” and “change congress.”


5. Beth Kanter

Given Beth’s activity with nonprofits, I loved a lot of the words in her cloud. Her two word cloud was sweet, chock-filled with things like, “digital natives,” “raise awareness,” and “relationship building.” Be sure to check it out.


6. Emily Chang

I didn’t know Emily at all and looking at her cloud first before reading about her was cool. I liked the mix of creative, emotional, media and techie words. I mean, “moisture” was a word. That was further explained in her two word cloud which includes “soil moisture,” “watering event” and “gestural interface.”


7. Marilyn Pratt

I knew Marilyn from Twitter but had never visited her blog (don’t smack me). How cool is her cloud? She’s one globally oriented person. In her two world cloud she has some jumpers like “business process,” “expert community” and “hindu temple.” (photo credit)


8. Laura Athavale Fitton

Another Twitter buddy, Laura, was another person who’s blog I had never visited. Love her vcard of top ten words. She has “ballast” and “love” as top words. How awesome is that? In her two word cloud she has “heart attack,” “product demo” and “big idea.” I’m a little biased to big ideas :)   (photo credit)


9. Mary Hodder

Looks like Mary has slowed down her blogging frequency so I’m not sure how accurate her cloud or top ten words are. In her two word cloud she has a ton of Bay Area references as well as terms like, “mental overhead,” “personalized trip,” and “public transit.” (photo credit)


10. Christine Lu

Christine was the first person to reach out to me on Twitter and is one of the nicest people I’ve never met. I’m not sure where she finds the time to be so prolific but she has an awesome blog, an active Seesmic persona, is all over Twitter and seemingly has twenty other things going at once. I was surprised by how much “middle class” jumped in her two word cloud which I guessed would be dominated by China. (photo credit)


  • Rachel Happe

    Hi Sam – Thank you for doing this…I am particularly sensitive to the lack of female voices in the social media discussion and ironically, just posted something on this topic (see: And thank you for introducing me to some great people/blogs!

  • Laura “Pistachio” Fitton

    Rachel said it all. And I am still blushing. And appreciative. Thank you.

  • Marilyn “grannimari” Pratt

    Since we are working with multiple author pages within one gargantuan blog presently here: it would be interesting to see such visualizations applied to multi-blogger sites. Would love for example if you could use a few pages of aggregations such as for the bloggers in to map signature words for leading social media conglomerate websites. Once I have access to Many Eyes I can actually try the experiment myself, I suppose. I repeat what Laura says and was going to add a wistful: “why is it we women jump to blush and thank”, but then I noticed that some of the gentlemen in your original analysis did as well. Thanks so much for triggering lots of thought.

  • sam

    @Rachel – Agreed, we need to attract more female voices. Great post, btw.

    @Laura- It was insightful for me, too.

    @Marilyn- I love the idea of moving from individuals to groups/companies. That’s for sure my next run at this (but I need a break since it’s a crazy amount of work).

  • Marshall Kirkpatrick

    Also interesting, and MUCH easier to do, is to look at how other people tag these peoples’ blogs. Anne Z. for example

  • sam

    @Marshall- True. That said, I like the idea of clouding the tags *other* people give you. That’s sweet.

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  • Rebecca

    Thanks for doing this, I will definitely look into these ladies. It troubles me that as a woman working in social software I can’t pull the names of female thought leaders out of a hat as I can male. I’m looking forward to a time when this type of exercise won’t be necessary!

  • Beth Kanter

    Thanks for doing this! I’m blushing .. to be considered a thought leader .. and be amongst such brilliant company

  • Gina

    When I read the first list, I couldn’t believe all the “thought leaders” were guys…I immediately thought of dana boyd. I guess this is a fix but isn’t it weird that the first 10 you thought of were men?

  • sam

    Hi Gina,

    Nope, not weird to me at all. I read who I read and don’t choose based on gender, race, religion, pet preference, design aesthetic, or anything else.

    I simply like what they have to say. :)

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Valeria Maltoni

    Really cool of you to do this, Sam. I think with Rebecca that so far women leaders are more specialized, in niche spaces. For example, off this list I know only of Laura Fitton (Pistachio). Many people know of me through Fast Company, not enough of them in tech environments though – so it applies. Good work.

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  • Stephanie Booth

    Copy-pasting blogs… you mean you copy-pasted the whole blog content? all years of it? or just the past few months?

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