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Inclusion In Podcasts

dotnetcoreblog profile image Jamie ・4 min read

So this is a potentially sticky subject, but I wanted to discuss it. I'm going to frame it around the .NET Core podcast that I produce

I'll only link to it once, and here it is: The .NET Core Podcast

but I think that it can relate to any kind of content that we, as a community, produce:

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Podcasts

We happen to live in an incredibly exciting era. Anyone can create a blog, podcast, YouTube/Mixer/Twitch series at the push of a button, and have their opinions heard by anyone who wants to tune in.


Looking at the wide variety of shows in the podcasting space, there are a lot of shows that are about including folks in the tech space. There are shows about and by:

  • women in tech
  • the African-American experience in tech
  • the LGBTQ+ experience in tech

and that's just naming a small sub-section of the shows which cover the tech space.

This is a fantastic thing, and we need more of them. I love to hear about technology, and the experiences of the folks who use it on a daily basis. And if that person's background, experience or view point is different to mine, then so much the better.

because my opinions will be informed by my own background, and seeing something from someone else's point of view will always be educational

One of the things that I've been thinking about with regards to the podcasts that I help to create is whether the guest list and view points presented are inclusive or diverse enough.

Take my .NET Core podcast for instance. At the time of writing this post, I've released 15 episodes and just under half of those have been interviews. In these episodes, I'm asking folks that I either know or have been introduced to, about their thoughts and opinions on .NET Core and the related technologies. The problem is

and I'm worried that it most definitely is a problem

that all of the guests so far have been caucasian and identify as male (him/his).

Looking at the old adage:

If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem

has me worried. I know that the show has only had 15 episodes, and I'm hardly going to change the world with this particular show. But what else can I be doing to make it more inclusive?

And to that end, how can we all make other shows or areas of the tech space more inclusive?


The obvious answer

at least to me

seems to be that we should be reaching out to folks outside of our own experience, background, gender, or ethnicity

or anything else that you can think of

and asking for advice from the folks we find in those areas. As my friend Keheira once said:

You can be certain that I'm going to be turning around and helping the person behind me climb that ladder

that's not a direct quote (mainly because I'm an idiot and couldn't remember it exactly), but I think it gets the point across

But is just blindly reaching out to folks the right way to go about it? For my own show, I've thought about throwing a tweet out saying something like:

I'm interested in talking to folks from the #dotnetcore community, regardless of their background or identity. If you'd like to talk Core, then please get in touch. My DMs are open to any and all.

But is that enough? Should we be cold approaching folks and saying, "hey I host a show/have a blog/a YouTube channel, and you should totally be on it because I want to hear what you have to say"?

obviously not those words exactly

Would reaching out to someone in that manner not scare them off?

I guess as long as the question is phrased such that it shows that we are interested in that person's opinions, not the opinions of any group that you identify them as being part of... Then again, is that a problem?


If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem

Am I a little too worried about something that I shouldn't be, or am I right to be thinking that I'm not providing an easy to reach outlet for everyone to have their say?

I really want to know everyone's opinions on this. Should I be worried that the content that I produce (outside of my development stuff) might potentially only represent one particular point of view?

I'm not going to change the world, and I know that for certain, but maybe I could help change a tiny part of it. Or maybe I don't need to make that my mission.

What should we do in order to include everyone, Dev.Together?

Discussion

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aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel

Totally reach out to people! That's how I've been approached for all the podcasts I've been on -- people have just DM'ed me on Twitter or Emailed me.

I super agree that having a diverse guest list is super important in tech, just to show that there are successful people from underrepresented groups already in tech shows newcomers that it is possible and builds respect from all listeners.

Maybe the best example of a diverse guestlist for a tech podcast is the CodeNewbie podcast! It's diverse from all angles too -- from super experts to newbies, from all walks of life and backgrounds.

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dotnetcoreblog profile image
Jamie Author

Maybe the best example of a diverse guestlist for a tech podcast is the CodeNewbie podcast! It's diverse from all angles too -- from super experts to newbies, from all walks of life and backgrounds.

This is where I'd like my show to be. Heck, I'd love all shows to be like this.

to show that there are successful people from underrepresented groups already in tech shows newcomers that it is possible and builds respect from all listeners

This is one of the aims of my podcast. I want to hear from everyone (although that's not going to be feasible) in the .NET Core community about what they're building and their experiences with it. And to provide a place where people can come and hear about the folks in the community, and their backgrounds - regardless of who they are.

Maybe we should all take a pro-active approach and actively look around for and ask folks from underrepresented groups. I guess what worries me about that is how I (specifically) would come across.

Maybe I should make it a call to action on the show, and have a contact page where folks can reach out, arrange to be on the show, and get their voice heard.

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aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel

Oh, that would be cool! I don't think you reach out to people based on demographics alone, but in general a "hey, you do cool stuff, would you want to talk on my podcast?" would be totally cool, and you could reach out to anybody and see if they go for it. I don't think I know any .NET women (I would actually guess .NET is less diverse than tech as a whole from speaking at .NET conferences), but I'm in some Women in Tech groups and could reach out to them if you're interested.

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dotnetcoreblog profile image
Jamie Author

I don't think you reach out to people based on demographics alone, but in general a "hey, you do cool stuff, would you want to talk on my podcast?" would be totally cool

That makes a lot more sense. Rather than cherry picking folks or groups out, shouting up about wanting to hear from folks from all walks of life and backgrounds.

I did send out a tweet along those lines, but that was months ago. Time for a new one, I think.

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kritner profile image
Russ Hammett

Worked for me :3

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Joe Zack

Scott Hanselman does a great job at finding a wide variety of guests but your show has a much more narrow focus so I imagine it will be tougher. I think a post like this is a great way to approach the problem though.

How does one reach outside their echo chamber? Perhaps one way is to ask for help...which is exactly what you've done here!

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Ben Halpern

Absolutely. I feel like I’ve met some great folks after first hearing them on Hanselminutes and then keeping up with them. Of course, the podcast is only one small part of @shanselman ’s positive impact on inclusion.