Forbes Publishes Top Twitter Celebs: Omits Women
Today, Forbes published an article on the “Top Twitter Celebrities”– featuring the names of both online and offline stars. The lists, which are broken down into two categories: Celebrities (10 on this list) and the Most Influential Twitterers (10 on this list). The two lists feature a total of two women: Britney Spears and Tina Fey– both in the celebrity category. The parent Twitter article also features a link to The Web Celeb 25, a list which features only one woman– Heather Armstrong.
Let’s take a quick look at Forbes’ selections for females: in one corner, we have a pop-princess (who doesn’t actually tweet herself– her “people” do it for her– we know because they sign the tweets) and a comedian, who tweets sporadic, but funny messages. As a whole, these women neither define the product nor the “active”demographic that Forbes was going for.
According to a Time article, back in August 2008, Twitter’s userbase was rougly 63% male, and 25.9% of the site’s users are between the age of 35-44. (Be sure to read Time’s article for great demographic information on the types of people who use Twitter– it’s not who you’d think).
Based off of this information (and assuming it’s still relatively true six months later) Forbes’ list should have had at least 5 women on the list (15 if you combined it with the Web Celeb 25). Granted there were a few “repeat performers” between the three lists, there seems to be no reason as to why less than a handful of women were considered for the article.
In the article, the author, Andy Greenberg, discusses Guy Kawasaki’s Twitter success, and states “By Forbes’ calculation, he’s the most influential Twitterer in the world,” but fails to define what tools Greenberg and his team used to determine this honor. A quick trip to the popular Twitter-fan site, Twitterholic.com puts Guy at #10, and a woman, Veronica Belmont (who wasn’t even mentioned in the article), at #8.
TwitterCounter also shows Veronica ahead of Guy and Jason Calacanis.
Further down the page? ijustine, a pseudo-celebrity, but the definition of “Web Celeb.” All-in-all, it would have been nice if there was a little more diversity in the list, as it would have made the article feel like it had more substance to it. Instead, it felt like a popularity contest where the team went through and picked a few names that were “buzz worthy” and would get them a lot of press– and tweets (or retweets)– without actually doing any real journalism.
Couple the dog-and-pony show with minor errors like ” Barack Obama, whose Twitter feed has been silent since his election, has the most adherents of all with 144,000 followers” the article just makes you frown and wonder if the reporter even bothered to check Twitter or any of the other Twitter tracking sites before publishing. Although it’s true that Obama hasn’t Tweeted in regular intervals since the election, he/his staff has posted two messages since the election (aside from the hacked messages) including one about Martin Luther King, Jr., and one about Inaugauration. Both of these messages were most likely available when the author’s story closed, making him just appear lazy.
I love seeing Twitter gain marketshare and garner more press, and know that articles in mainstream outlets like CNN, Time, and The New York Times help achieve this goal, but at the same time, they can sometimes create hurdles. In this case, a glass ceiling, and a negative stereotype.
For more Twitter ranking sites, visit the Twitter Facts blog, where they’ve compiled a healthy list.