The new issue of Vanity Fair includes an article that has inspired a flurry of irritated tweets among some on twitter.
According to “America’s Tweethearts” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, being known by thousands of people on twitter is “Not real fame, mind you, or even Internet-celebrity fame, but a special, new category of fame: twilebrity.” Not real fame? Fame is fame! If only a fraction of Amy Jo Martin’s 1.3 million followers know who she is, she’s still famous in a pretty large circle.
All afternoon, people kept bringing this article to the attention of Action Flick Chick Katrina Hill who, as @actionchick on twitter, had a following larger than or similar to half the women featured in the article. The first to point this out was her Bird vs. Nerd collaborator Andre Meadows.
BlackNerd: @actionchick Um, someone’s missing from this article. Who could it be? http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/02/twitter-201002
Yes, Katrina had a following comparable that of half the featured women and Katrina even credits twitter for her new status as G4TV’s Next Woman of the Web, but that’s really not the problem. We could surely find other examples of photogenic young women with twitter-created celebrity status who have larger followings than hers. Vanity Fair‘s examples are just that – examples. They weren’t presented as the top six. They are all outstanding women.
No, the problem isn’t who the author used as examples. The problem is what she said about them and everybody else on twitter. We’ve seen some strong responses pointing out the article’s many flaws. Presented as if it’s praising the six featured women, the article nevertheless calls them ‘”the Internet’s equivalent of a telephone chat line staffed by a bunch of cheerleaders,” and continues to heap indignity after indignity upon them all.
Site: Geek Girl Diva
Post: “Tweethearts? On Vanity Fair! You Slay Me!”
by Geek Girl Diva (@geekgirldiva): “I think it’s great that you took the time to write about some of the top female Twitterers (Tweethearts? Srsly?) and looked to offer some insight into how their celebrity (twilebrity? WTF?) has come about. Except you didn’t do that. You gave me eye candy, cutesy words that include ‘tw’ (twagic, if you ask me) and manage to more than amply deride these women’s efforts even while writing about them…”
Site: Geek Week Online
Post: “Why Does Vanity Fair Hate the Women of Twitter?”
by Kiala Kazebee (@kiala): “The article, America’s Tweethearts (ugh), profiles six high profile entrepreneurial women (Felicia Day, Julia Roy, Sarah Evans, Stefanie Michaels, Sarah Austin, and Amy Jo Martin) on Twitter and rather than aiming the spotlight at their achievements, it instead paints them as attention seeking, pom pom wielding, phone sex operators for the internet…”
Post: “Hot for Twitter! Vanity Fair’s ‘Twilebrities’ Have Sexy Legs”
by Rachel Sklar (@rachelsklar) : “…I got no problem with cheerleaders — or cheerleading, in the sense of being upbeat, encouraging, sharing, open and engaged, which is what all these women are — but wow do I have a problem with using it to buttress the impression of flighty, dippy girls obsessed with themselves, their highlights and their twitter followers. No. There are people like that, but not these people specifically, and not people who are engaged and involved on Twitter in general…”
Finally, even one of the six featured women weighed in as well: Internet heroine Felicia Day, creator and star of The Guild. You know, the woman once rumored to be the Action Flick Chick back before Katrina put her real name and face on the Internet.
by Felicia Day: “I can’t tell you how many hours I had to resist rage Tweeting about this subject. The use of inane Twitter lingo like ‘Twilebrity’, ‘Tweeple’ and ‘Twitformation Superhighway’ (Oh God please stop) just signaled that the writer obviously wasn’t well-researched about the service, or the internet in general, really. And her condescending jibes like, ‘…somehow this fascinates millions of readers.’ Well, whatever. We’re all used to snarkville. But what really ENRAGED me what the general tone, which artfully made intelligent, articulate women sound vapid and superficial.”
Do not buy Vanity Fair just to read this tripe by Vanessa Grigoriadis. Read the article online for free.
So who is Vanity Fair‘s twitter expert? As of this writing, Grigoriadis a.k.a. @nessiecorp on twitter follows the tweets of only 40 people, has 164 followers, and appears on a grand total of 7 twitter lists. Because she does indeed have protected tweets that you can’t see, we can’t know how prolific she has or has not been in tweeting to her audience of 164, but we can tell you who they are. To see which 164 people she deigned to permit the reading of her tweets, check them out at http://twitter.com/nessiecorp/followers.
And whose tweets does she follow herself? She follows journalist @jodikantor, journalist @NikkiFinke, journalist @toadmeister, journalist @FManjoo, journalist @JodyRosen, journalist @Pomeranian99, editor @GabrielSnyder, writer @DerekBlasberg, writer @albomike, several people at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, several at Gawker, some people we can’t figure out because their tweets are protected too or they have no profile information, and show biz types like @AdamLambert, LL Cool J’s daughter, @RainnWilson, and @Stephen Colbert. #twittertip: Nobody in the public eye or anybody else who can benefit from promotional activities should set their tweets to private.
This is not someone with a finger on the pulsebeat of twitter. Apparently it’s someone who doesn’t even know that the act of sending a specific tweet is tweeting, not “Twittering.”
Don’t be a twit.
Image based on photograph by Vanity Fair © 2010, used as a transformative work for parody and illustrative purposes under fair use.
Addendum: More Great Responses
Post: “Vanity Fair on Twitter Fame: Twembarrassing”
by Caroline McCarthy (@caro): “…one of the silliest, most superficial, and most wildly out of touch articles about Twitter that I’ve ever read. Called ‘America’s Tweethearts,’ it discusses the phenomenon of individuals (primarily attractive women) who have amassed notable amounts of Twitter fame, or ‘twilebrity.’ (Twilebrity? Barf.)”
And another featured Tweetheart weighs in.
Site: Digital Royalty
Post: “There’s More to a Tweetheart”
by Amy Jo Martin: “Here’s what has kept me up the past few nights. Here’s where I call twullshit. Unlike assumptions made in the article, the fact is that all six women featured are more than just twitter handles. They are pioneers. Individuals and companies are making money off of Twitter. Maybe I wasn’t clear during the two-hour, one-on-one interview when I explained that I’ve built a business around this exact topic.”
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