That being said, I do expect a certain level of intelligence and professionalism from such an established magazine, and I was horrified by Vanity Fair's coverage of "America's Tweethearts". (Ugh!) It pains me to even type that insipid title knowing that the article itself is full of such gag-inspiring terms as "twilebrities" and “Twitformation Superhighway”.
Clearly the author is not on Twitter herself and her use (overuse) of pseudo-clever terms like "tweeple" comes across as well as your grandpa saying "fer shizzle". Instead of recognizing the quick communication and marketing opportunities that can be accomplished via Twitter, this author has decided that Twitter's 140 character limit means that only stupid people would use it.
In her world, it seems intelligence in the written word is based on its length, not in its ability to get the job done. (And you thought size didn't matter!) As her article derisively says, "For tweeple, e-mail messages are sonnets, Facebook is practically Tolstoy."
I take the opposite stance: I'm often amazed at how much can be expressed within 140 characters. As a writer, I find that it takes more skill to write concisely than to openly blather on. Some of my best work has come from assignments with lots of requirements and very tight word counts.
Though the author's ignorant and condescending approach to this topic reminds me of the puffed-up cavemen who declared TV to be a passing fad, what bothered me most was her dishonest treatment of the women featured (or should I say, barely mentioned) in the article. These are successful, self-made women whose years of hard work were completely disregarded.
The author, who seemed to have only researched her subjects as far as their Twitter follower counts, implied that these women are famous merely for their Twitter presence. She actually had the nerve to make the following statements:
Twittering all the time—the act of text-messaging the world (why wouldn’t you talk to everyone, if you could?)—is the essential feat of a twilebrity. And because Twitter uses simple technology, it’s a utilitarian vehicle for ambitious extroverts, without any previous distinction, to become digital superstars.Misrepresenting these women in this way is a misogynist act in my book. This Vanity Fair author had an opportunity to shine a light on New Media and the doors that are opened to those who are willing to work hard to create their own careers. Instead, she chose to promote an ignorant and insulting stereotype.
But when it comes to listening, well, that’s where these twilebrities shine. It so happens that they are nice girls—the Internet’s equivalent of a telephone chat line staffed by a bunch of cheerleaders—and it’s all free.
Why spew venom on successful women who Twitter? I can only assume this author, and others like her, are threatened by strong women who are able to make something of themselves and achieve their goals without the endorsement of the mainstream media.
Take Felicia Day for example. The Vanity Fair article, when it bothers to mention her at all, refers to Felicia only as "a geek-Webisode actress". In reality, Felicia Day is an actress, but also a webisode pioneer who created her own successful web series, The Guild. She writes, produces, and stars in this award-winning web series, and her hard work has led to its well-earned success. The Guild was originally funded through fan donations, but is now sponsored by Sprint and distributed by XBox and Microsoft. Its popularity has inspired many others to create their own web series, bypassing the Network mass-appeal/sociopolitical filters to directly deliver content that appeals to niche viewers.
Felicia has posted her own response to the Vanity Fair article on her blog, where she admirably contains her outrage enough to explain just what was so disappointing about the experience. I think she sums it up nicely by saying, "I feel like an opportunity was missed to celebrate a new kind of independent and liberated woman."
I agree and hope that there will come a day when independent women can be successful without anyone insinuating that they have merely traded in on their good looks.