Monday, March 24, 2008

Women on the Web

Ducks all in a row in Central Park. Friday, 3:00 PM.
The Spring equinox. A cold and sunny weekend in New York. The first signs of Mother Nature dusting the trees with buds.

Everybody in media, like almost everyone else on the planet, or at least in the country, would like to have a web site, for a variety of reasons, as many as there are individuals. It is the cell phone of the mind. Well, I could be a little off about that declaration: there may be some who don’t want one. There are those in media who discount its value.

However, the internet has given us, all of us, the greatest opportunity at self-expression ever known to mankind. The internet has The World out there. Oh, I know, Picasso did just fine without one. But for most of the rest of us, it is a gift, and a boon in so many ways.

All this to lead up to the new kid (or rather, kids) on the block. That is: I never write about other web sites (although I read a lot of them, especially the financial and political ones). However, may be a trailblazer.
Candice Bergen
Joan Juliet Buck
Joan Ganz Cooney
Joni Evans
Whoopi Goldberg
Judith Martin
I know a couple of the girls who started this and I’m not sure they even realize it yet. This is a very sophisticated group of females. They are successful, influential. They are dynamic. None is “accidentally” prominent or successful. All are (or have been most of their lives) working women. They are: Whoopi Goldberg, Judith Martin, Sheila Nevins, Peggy Noonan, Julia Reed, Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Lily Tomlin, Marlo Thomas, Candice Bergen, Mary Wells, Jane Wagner, Joan Juliet Buck, Joan Ganz Cooney, and their CEO Joni Evans. Makes me think of  M-G-M Studios in the days of yore  – more stars than there are in heaven.

This is also a “social circle,” a circle of peers. Their web site will appeal to women, but men who are interested in or want to get a bead on The World as seen through the eyes of fifteen powerful, intelligent and active women, this is the place.
Peggy Noonan
Sheila Nevins
Julia Reed
Liz Smith
Lesley Stahl
Marlo Thomas
They all know each other by no more than one or two degrees of separation, if that. Some of them, like Liz Smith, for example, are very influential members of the community that is known as New York. Liz has a vast array of acquaintances in so many areas of New York life. Furthermore she has used her position and voice to raise tens of millions for a number of charitable causes here in New York. She is also generous privately with her access. She also has outlived a lot of her competition while remaining younger in spirit than most of her younger colleagues (and competition).

This kind of personal magnanimity attracts more of it. The WOWOWOW girls are the kind of women that on someone’s invitation list could would a must-go-to party. They’ve lived, dwelled on the higher rarefied levels of power and celebrity. Because they know everybody, they’ve been everywhere, they’ve had amazing experiences out there in the world, and are either at the center or have access to the center. And now they have a web site.
Lily Tomlin
Mary Wells
Jane Wagner
There is a department called Conversations. One of the “conversations” is between Liz, Joan Juliet Buck, the writer and former Editor-in Chief of French Vogue, and Mary Wells, who changed the world’s image of an advertising tycoon when she started Wells, Rich and Greene. Talking about themselves, their private experiences, sex, companionship, points of view. It’s somehow even more fascinating than if you were at a private cocktail or dinner party listening to this conversation. But you don’t have to be invited to that dinner or cocktail, ever. Because here it is.

The wonder of the internet, in my opinion, is the “intimacy” it brings to everything -- which is why “blogs” are so compelling. You’re sharing these words and thoughts with men and women all over the planet, and often at the same moment. There is something for everyone in this great big small world that is the web. has now opened up the world of successful and prominent women to the rest of us.

I think it was Joni Evans who came up with the WOWOWOW concept. Ms. Evans is one of the most successful women of the past four decades in both publishing and literary representation. In fact, she was so successful, she decided she needed another challenge. I think she made that  decision a few years ago.

I’m not sure its members and their friends who will be participating even yet grasp its value. The web business is a learning business because of the “intimacy” aspect. Over the next few months these particular fifteen women and the associates they engage to participate may be unwittingly creating a platform of influence. Good influence; the kind that’s not exactly in abundance.

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