How dare you be assertive with your words? How dare you have a competitive nature that inadvertently disadvantages agreeable women?
- Slack is a piece of communication software that is currently being used by 50,000 companies worldwide and is increasingly replacing e-mail
– In a piece for Quartz, author Leah Fessler noted differences in communication via gender
– Men dominate public-channel conversations while women are more likely to use supportive, friendly punctuation, and modify their opinions with hedges like “I could be wrong, but…”
- Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield says Slack will soon provide individual Slack users with data on whether or not digital communications changes when they speak with people of different demographics
- Back in November 2017, this was an issue that wasn’t on Slack’s radar
– Head of communications at Slack, Julia Blystone said the following: “If we had seen a trend where women said they didn’t have a voice on Slack, we’d work on how we might address it.”
- Butterfield sought to defend his platform despite the introduction of these bias-detecting tools
– “If there are deep and systemic problems at an organization, Slack can exaggerate them. If there are real positive attributes and successful [negotiating and conversational] skills within an organization, those can be supercharged. So, I don’t think there’s anything inherent to [Slack’s] structure… or any inherent visible characteristics that would inhibit diversity.”
– He also emphasized that Slack can be a godsend for more introverted people at a company
- The following paragraph, written by the aforementioned Leah Fessler, seems to negate a knowledge of how archives work as well as women’s individual agency
– “Women and people of underrepresented minorities sometimes don’t speak up about coworkers whose Slack habits make them uncomfortable due to fear that they wouldn’t be believed or wouldn’t have data to back up their accusations.”
- The issue of how to properly analyze communication patterns without giving users the feeling that they are being surveilled remains an issue, along with questions of privacy.