Donglegate and the Evolving Role of Social Media At Work

gender at work

Image from: Gender at Work / Shutterstock

PyCon, the annual conference for Python developers, was different this year. The event was overshadowed by a heated debate about gender, conduct, and the role of social media in the workplace.

For those unaware of the “incident”: A female PyCon attendee tweeted a picture of two male attendees after being offended by their conversation that included sexual innuendos regarding “dongles” and “forking code.” For context, here’s the original tweet. If you’re interested in a deep-dive of Adia Richard’s motives, check out her follow-up blog.

Venture Beat summed up the timeline nicely:

Look, whatever “side” of this you’re on, here’s what happened:

  1. Some guys made some guy jokes about guy stuff
  2. A woman got offended and did something that was probably an over-reaction
  3. Some conference organizers over-reacted
  4. A company (PlayHaven) over-reacted
  5. The internet (all of us, but especially Anonymous) over-reacted
  6. Another company (SendGrid) over-reacted

Daily reach and attention to Hacker News peaked the 20th after one of the perpetrators (who lost his job) posted his reply and apology for the incident on the popular industry site. DR DA

You can also see an upward trend on reddit for the same time period, after the story was shared in the “Men’s Rights” subreddit.

reddit DR DA

Daily attention to peaked on the 21st when news of Adria being fired from the company circulated the web. She was let go from her position after an anonymous DDOS attack on (for the non-geeks: it basically shuts down a website or Internet service by flooding it with traffic).

sendgrid DR DA

After all this controversy, I started to wonder about gender and programming. If 20% of PyCon attendees were women (up from 5% last year)–what is the female representation at GitHub, the largest code host in the world? Surprisingly the breakoutof visitors to is about 40% female to 60% male over the past year. gender

Regardless of your gender or opinion on the matter, it’s clear that the role that social media plays in our relationship with our employers is rapidly changing. You could be one Facebook status update, tweet, tumbl, pin, or Instagram away from hearing the famous words of Donald Trump: You’re fired.

Please feel free to comment on your experiences or concerns regarding social media in the workplace below.

About Lindsey Mark:
Lindsey Mark works in Client Relations at Compete and is responsible for the strategic development of client retention and support policies for, with a focus on education and training efforts. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY so she's a certified technology junkie and open source advocate. When she's not thinking about marketing or training digital 007's at compete, she's doing yoga & blogging about gluten-free diet and lifestyle. Find Lindsey on Twitter as @linji, Google Plus as Lindsey Mark or connect with her via LinkedIn.