I woke up this morning to the delightful discovery that the Vancouver Sun included me in their list of BC’s top 100 influential women. With company like Alison Lawton, Cindy Lee, Susan Yurkovich, Annabel Lyon, Sarah McLachlan, Meeru Dhalwala, Cornelia Oberlander, and Christine Day — not to mention fellow social media geek Rebecca Bollwitt (a.k.a. Miss 604) – it’s a list of women I’m not only thrilled to be a part of, but a list of women whose accomplishments I’d like to track.
So I went to my go-to place for tracking any group of interesting people: Twitter. One by one, I searched for the Twitter handles of all the women on the list, and compiled the results in a Twitter list called BC women of influence. (If missed someone, please tweet or e-mail me her Twitter handle.) If you’re a Twitter user, you can now follow all these amazing women with one click, and if you’re not on Twitter, you can still view the list page to catch up on all their latest news.
Well, not quite all their news. Out of 100 women of influence, I was only able to add 18 to my list: most of these women are not tweeters. (I also found a handful who protect their tweets, apparently limiting follows to a small number of friends or colleagues, and thus couldn’t be added to the list.)
Among my social media colleagues, Twitter presence (and followers) are all-too-often treated as an indicator of someone’s influence. Klout, the leading measure of influence online, explicitly leans on Twitter metrics to assess the reach of each person it profiles. But look at the 70+ women on the Vancouver Sun list who aren’t on Twitter at all, and you realize that hey, it is still more than possible to have an incredible reach and impact without condensing your essence into 140 characters. These women have launched and sold businesses, fostered the arts, enriched our communities and driven scientific innovation — all without without a Twitter handle.
That leaves me wondering: does Twitter distract us from the real-world activities that create real impact? Or does it extend our impact in new and powerful ways? The 18 women on the BC women of influence Twitter list make a strong case for the latter, since most of them are active Twitterers who show how a social media presence can extend the impact of your work:
- Nelly Furtado uses DEQQ, a conversational platform created by our friends at Work at Play, to integrate her Twitter conversations with Facebook feedback into an ongoing conversation that has created an incredibly active community among her fans — 1.5 million of them on Twitter alone.
- Miss 604 on Twitter is as valuable as Rebecca Bollwitt’s Miss 604 blog: it’s the single best way to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the city.
- The Diane Farris Gallery mirrors its namesake’s role in fostering Vancouver’s contemporary art scene, with tweets that offer an eclectic and comprehensive guide to the most interesting art happenings in the city.
- And a special shout-out to Vancouver School Board chair Patti Bacchus, who found & followed the list before I’d even finished compiling it: now there is a woman who is on top of her social media monitoring.
I hope that more and more of the women on the Vancouver Sun list will embrace Twitter as another way of extending their impact. They’ve already proven that women can make a powerful contribution to offline business, creativity, innovation and community. We need their voices and their influences in the online world, too.