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Vanity Fair’s Tweethearts Are a Clear Miss

If you haven’t read Vanity Fair’s article American’s Tweethearts then you should.  Apart from being an interesting look into how Media views twitter (read sans all the Black and Latino people) it discussed what they call Twilebrity.  The six porcelain skinned blondes, brunettes, and one red head dressed in what appears to be only pumps, trench coats, and their favorite mobile device are supposed to be what reflects what Twilebrities look like on Twitter.  And if you think Twitter following has something to do with it think again.  The “tweethearts” range from 24,000 followers to 1.6MM followers.  Huge range.

Photograph by Michael Halsband for Vanity Fair

Photograph by Michael Halsband for Vanity Fair

From left to right: social strategist Julia Roy (31,000 followers), publicist Sarah Evans (33,000 followers), travel journalist Stefanie Michaels (1.4 million followers), actress Felicia Day (1.6 million followers), lifecaster Sarah Austin (24,000 followers), and marketer Amy Jo Martin (1.2 million followers).  Photograph by Michael Halsband for Vanity Fair

About half of the women they featured in the story have over 1 million followers, no easy task regardless of race.  But the other half only have a few tens of thousands followers, between 24,000 and 33,000 to be exact.  You would think that it would be fairly easy to find Twitterers with that kind of following that more accurately reflect the actual make-up of who’s most active on Twitter.  People like NY Times tech reporter  Jenna Wortham (288,976 followers), anti-slavery activist Somaly Mam (274,434 followers), or self described “Latina Geek” Laura Gomez (86,361 followers).

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Jenna Wortham

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Somaly Mam

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Laura Gomez

Anil Dash of SixApart Tweeted his thoughts on the issue:

Vanity Fair runs fawning “tweethearts” stories like http://bit.ly/vftwee But anyone can see black culture rules Twitter via trending topics

It’s no secret that topics that dominate twitter do in fact surround Black culture…a lot.  Aside from noting what trends on Twitter it seems like the author didn’t dig deep enough to find (or include) recent finding from Pew on Internet usage, finding 44% of the people surveyed that updated Twitter are Black and Latino.

#damnshame

13 Comments

Comments

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Laryssa says:

Thank you for taking the time to criticize this article, which I think is a load of trash. I fully agree with your analysis and wish that the writer chose some more diverse subjects. I also took the time to blog about it. You can read my reaction here: http://www.commansentence.com/what-would-tiny-f….

Laryssa says:

Thank you for taking the time to criticize this article, which I think is a load of trash. I fully agree with your analysis and wish that the writer chose some more diverse subjects. I also took the time to blog about it. You can read my reaction here: http://www.commansentence.com/what-would-tiny-f….

Priya says:

While I agree with you that the VF article missed the mark, with their snarky article, the problem isn't that any particular race isn't as well represented as they should be…the problem is that they paint ALL twitterers (especially women) in a light of people who are desperate, uneducated, lack insight or depth of thought. Especially these women who have all made accomplishments with their individual entrepreneurial endeavors. THAT is what you should be upset about. Then of course the irony of it all…is after basically slapping everyone who tweets in the face…..they give a link to follow Vanity Fair on twitter. VF = Fail.

digitalsista says:

and the Tiger Woods cover is another topic but only a man of color goes from clean cut elite to thug because of infidelity. I am not condoning his behavior but this kind of demonizing only happens to certain people.

digitalsista says:

this is another example of the main stream trying to understand the ecosystem of cultures and still get it wrong. No one there engages in social media, clearly. However when anyone wants to find women in social media guess where they are heading to follow. It's more than annoying. I have been tweeting about it all day under #tweethearts. #woc get side stepped again.

blackweb20 says:

“Between this and the Tiger Woods cover I wonder what's going on over there.” man so TRUE!!! I think perhaps they are the writers “friends” not sure how else to explain the huge range in followers.

leslys says:

Again the issue of newsroom diversity comes into play–it would be great to know the editorial team behind this piece, especially given the wide range of followers for these ladies. Just what exactly makes them Tweethearts to the exclusion of so many others? Between this and the Tiger Woods cover I wonder what's going on over there.

Khai says:

It's not surprising that they left almost half of the twitterverse out of their story. Can't say I'm shocked by it however. Twitter is ruled by our culture because we rule pop culture and new media. Anytime #sandraroses face is a TT you know what you're dealing with.

mikeydigital says:

nice write up Angela!… #damnshame pretty much sums it up! Not surprised though… not surprised..

dj_diva says:

that is similar to a story on Problogger today of the 30 bloggers to watch…those lists hardly ever include the black or the brown…

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