Tooting my own horn

It’s not often I toot my own horn, but I’m going to let myself do so on this occasion. I usually find self-congratulation quite difficult as I am haunted by the feeling that I Should Have Done More, but it is nice to occasionally have a little recognition from someone else. I’m thus quite chuffed to be listed at No. 50 in the Telegraph’s list of The 50 Most Influential Britons in Technology.

I’m on the list, apparently, because of Ada Lovelace Day – the international day of blogging about women in technology that I organised earlier this year. There are only five women in the Telegraph’s lower 25, listed yesterday. I can’t help thinking that’s slightly ironic, not to mention another indicator that we have long way to go before Ada Lovelace Day becomes unnecessary.

I can’t deny that it’s nice to be recognised. I remember feeling equally chuffed when, years ago, The Guardian added Strange Attractor to its list of essential blogs. We still sometimes even get traffic from that archival page! But I also think it would have been nice to have been recognised for some of the meatier work I’ve done, such as being a social media pioneer or founding the Open Rights Group.

Of course, lists are always subjective and there are plenty of “Eh?” moments with this one. Baroness Greenfield is someone I think is hideously misguided, not to mention often flat-out wrong and whilst she may be influential it is entirely the wrong sort of influence. The majority people included come from ter intarwebz, with only the aforementioned Greenfield (“scientist”), Tanya Byron and James Dyson working in other fields.

I hope that today’s second part includes more people from other areas of technology. Nanotech, biotech, electronic engineering, software, games – none of these areas are represented. I suppose it could be argued that influence these days relies on having a hefty presence on the web and that because this is a list of influencers the web is going to be over-represented.

There’s also the perennial argument of “Why do a list anyway? They’re just a waste of time.” That’s a view I often sympathise with, but I have to admit there are a lot of people on this list I’ve never heard of, just as I’m sure the vast majority of readers will not have heard of me. Wouldn’t it be nice if this list was titled Interesting People You Might Not Have Heard Of, because that would have been both more useful and more honest.

Still, I shall enjoy my little moment of pride in what I have achieved. … Right, done! Now to get on with Doing More!