Please allow me to tell you a story. A friend of mine who works at the Starbucks on the University of Pennsylvania campus sent me a message on Facebook, saying:
But seriously legit worst thing ever. So lady come through my line today, a ginger like me. And I’m thinking to my self god she looks super fucking familiar. And when I’m done taking her order I ask for her name and she says Felicia……..it took me over an hour after she left to realize wtf had just happened. Do you know who that was?
I proceeded, logically, to have a little bit of a panic attack before yelling “Felicia Day!” at my laptop. I then realized that this didn’t actually message my friend, so I went ahead and typed it. I was confused and angry that my friend hadn’t gotten her autograph, and disappointed that she had recognized her well enough to even think about getting it. But, I didn’t want to be angry for no reason. I wanted to be sure. I googled “upenn felicia day” and stumbled upon this: The 2013 Wharton Web Conference.
In case you don’t know, Wharton is the school of business at the University of Pennsylvania, chock full of top-ranked programs and people who will no doubt grow up to be sharks. Their annual Web Conference is a public event designed to bring all kinds of IT professionals together (including programmers, designers, artists, and relevant professors) with an emphasis on improving user experience and interface. It’s tres cool, and the schedule can be found here, and descriptions of the sessions here.
What you’ll notice about the top of that first link is that the keynote speaker is Felicia Day. That’s a big goddamn deal. Probably not for her, because she’s used to making her voice heard and being a badass all over the place, but I see it as indicative of an upward trend in the inclusion of women at top-level tech conferences. The conference was broken up into three categories of sessions: dev (development), design, and culture. I think that Day’s contributions would fall more into the realm of culture, but that’s not a bad thing and it’s excellent that she’s recognized as a leader in current web culture. Furthermore, it’s not just a bunch of idle homebodies hanging out at a small-town Radisson. Day gave the keynote for CEOs, community managers, publishers, programmers, and Ivy-League professors.
It represents a recognition of internet fandom and nerdiness as integral to the future of IT dev and design. There’s a little extra hope for your Monday. Maybe one of us hapless nerds (myself included) will look up and find ourselves on the banner for an Ivy League web conference one day. Why not?
By the way, I did eventually forgive my friend for not getting me her autograph, by the way. Though it was a real emotional journey for me.