Less Rant, More Rationale. My Letter To The Vanity Fair Editor.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Less Rant, More Rationale. My Letter To The Vanity Fair Editor.

I know I had a good rant yesterday about a certain Vanity Fair article, but I also wrote a letter to the editor. Since I know my ranty side can be a bit...much? -- I thought I might try a more rational approach. Here's what I sent.


It's easy to look at the anger, snark and hurt feelings that were more than apparent across Twitter and the blogosphere yesterday as some sort of Twitter geek defense mechanism.

But if you look at it more closely, what you'll see is a missed opportunity.

Vanity Fair posted that article online in addition to including it in the print edition. In doing so, I'm sure the editors hoped it would reach and build their Twitter followers and the VF reader base as well, both online and in print.

After all, print media is changing and an online presence has gone from being "hip" to a must in order to expand the brand.

I'm even willing to bet the goal was to reach out through the 6 women in the article, and their collective brands and marketing efforts, to their audiences. The numbers are mentioned in the article - right in the beginning -- 6 women who, collectively, have over 5 million followers.

5 million followers.

Any person, group, leader, with 5 million people paying attention to what they have to say would be considered a force to be reckoned with in the "real world".

So, here's what I don't understand...

Instead of taking the opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of each of these women, and how Twitter factors in, pretty much guaranteeing a positive buzz for Vanity Fair Magazine, the author chose to write an article that trivialized the accomplishments of each of these women and the value of Twitter in general.

Which means that, instead of having 5 million people saying good things about Vanity Fair Magazine and the VF brand in general, you have 5 million people discussing about how Vanity Fair screwed up and just "doesn't get it".

Here's where you don't understand Twitter -- and it's what I consider the real missed opportunity.

Each of those 5 million people has followers. Each of those people might comment and, in doing so, spread the word to those who follow them. To quote an old commercial. "They'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on and so on..."

And each of them is going to reinforce a negative instead of a positive. Which, I'm sure, was not the intention.

I do have a suggestion, though, and I hope you'll consider it. Because I know something else about Twitter that you don't.

Twitter users are forgiving and will, if you give them a chance, use their powers for good.

Find another angle?

I'm asking in all sincerity. Take this experience, write about it, get someone who understands Twitter to write it (maybe even one of the women in the article?) and give Twitter another, deeper look?

5 million people.

The exponential possibilities are endless.

Thanks for reading,

Geek Girl Diva
@geekgirldiva

7 comments:

  1. Very well thought out post, great perspective. Thanks for writing this, maybe somebody at VF will pay attention.

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  2. Great points. There's one more.

    If you write an article about twitter users, and post it online, link to their twitter accounts.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It definitely is a missed opportunity, but I don't think your "ranting" was out of line, either.

    To expound upon the whole missed opportunity thing, more people receive information from twitter than just the subscribed readers. I wouldn't be surprised if this whole issue reaches television via Fox News, ABC, NBC, CNN and more, who would all love to report about VF's semblance of sexism and Twitter's geeky, hurt feelings.

    They could have written an excellent post that appealed to twitter users as well as motivated entrepreneurs and women in general, which would, also, have a fair chance of massive response from twitter resulting in wider, positive media coverage.

    It just really is too bad.

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  4. I follow Felicia Day - and as one of those 5 million people am not impressed with the tone of the article. I think your letter was spot on about the opportunity missed, it's worked in that it's made me read a vanity fair article I probably wouldn't have - but it certainly has impressed upon me, the lack of respect that they have to what each of those women have accomplished

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  5. You hit the nail completely on the head with VF missing an opportunity.
    I said earlier that the more I think about it, the more levels of fail emerge.
    1. Being dismissive of a massive social media site.
    2. Being dismissive of the people who use the site.
    3. Being dismissive of influential users on that site.
    4. Being dismissive of WOMEN and their influential use of the site.
    5. Being dismissive of their readers.
    Vanity Fair has done many things well over the years: Gorgeous photography, haute couture, Celeb profiles, even news and in-depth political content.
    I used to respect Vanity Fair. Now, not only are they too expansive and portraying a lifestyle I can't afford and am only marginally interested in, they've completely smeared women I admire and the class of women I belong to,(i.e., Geek girls.)
    They didn't just miss an opportunity, they doused it with petrol and set it on fire to watch it burn.
    They'll have a LOT of work to do for me to take them seriously again.
    You, btw - TOTALLY ROCK.
    (READERS, GO VOTE FOR GGD here:
    http://shortyawards.com/category/awesome )

    ReplyDelete
  6. finally, someone hit this with the intelligent stick. good letter. i hope someone pays attention to it.

    ReplyDelete

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