Reaction and Reflection on a List

Responding to questions about recommendations on whom to follow on Twitter.

October 10, 2013

Last week, I wrote a rare list post of "20 Higher Education Professionals to Follow on Twitter." That was the original title. After going through the editorial process, the post went public as "20 Pros to Follow." Either way, the post featured 20 amazing higher education professionals who you should follow. Interestingly, the list was made up entirely of women. Now, I had no idea that a list of awesome women would have two distinct reactions. The first reaction that permeated throughout Twitter and Facebook was one of positivity. People were excited that their colleagues, mentors, and friends were featured in a follow Friday post. However, there was also a negative reaction. It was subtle at times and overt too. Negativity seemed to come about because I had dared to create a list post that featured women and did not include any men. I suppose I could have titled the post as "20 Pros to Follow Who Are Women," but I didn't feel that it was necessary to specify gender. However, I do feel compelled to address some of the themes that emerged.

Oops - There were people on Twitter who actually posited that I had unintentionally created a list of all women. Like it was some sort of blogging accident. One commenter even labelled the list as a "curious phenomenon" and that an all women list was due to demographics in student affairs. To clear things up, no…it was not an accident. I wanted to feature a list of amazing women who tweet.

No men? - Some dude actually posted that as a comment on the post. Inside Higher Ed has some of the best of the worst when it comes to comment trolls, but this guy wasn't even trying. Several men made mention of the fact that there were no guys on the list. It's true, I've never ever written any posts that feature guys…except for this one, that one, another one over here, and oh hey, look, it's a guy in a post! In truth, I've written about a wide variety of people on this blog. Now, there were many men who enthusiastically shared the post. However, the commentary from the "no men?" crowd came almost entirely from guys. Those same guys said absolutely nothing about the amazing people on the list. I found that to be very telling. It was only when I posted a list that was composed completely of women that people seemed to struggle with men not being included.

Thankful - To everyone who shared the post and followed one or all of the wonderful individuals on the list – thank you. It was wonderful to read comments, tweets, and Facebook posts that recognized the fabulousness of the people who I still believe you should follow if you're so inclined.


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