Tech entrepreneur Anil Dash has made a name for himself through such projects as Expert Labs, a non-profit that aimed to help “ordinary citizens who aren’t lobbyists or insiders or politicians get their voices heard by policy makers simply by using social networks like Twitter and Facebook,” according to its website. Through blogging about technology and being an early Twitter user, Dash has gained almost 500,000 Twitter followers, which got him to thinking about how he could use his influence to help others be heard.
Dash is currently the CEO of ThinkUp, “which is all about being more thoughtful about the way we use our social networks,” he writes in an essay on Medium. An analytics tool showed him that 75% of his Twitter followers are men, and that 80% of the tweets he retweeted were written by men. He feels “a growing sense of social responsibility about what messages I choose to share and amplify, and whose voices and identities I strive to bring to a broader audience.”
Considering how underrepresented women are in the field of technology, Dash resolved to only retweet tweets by women in 2013, and it opened his eyes. “One thing that has happened,” he writes, “is that I’ve been in far more conversations with women, and especially with women of color, on Twitter in the past year. That’s led to me following more women, and has caused a radical shift in how I perceive my time on Twitter, even though its actual substance isn’t that different.” In general, Dash found women on Twitter to be more thankful and less focused on certain pervasive memes or tech stories than men. Dash said he only slipped up once, retweeting a message by Prince. Now he’s inviting others to try only retweeting women, especially those in fields dominated by men.