(I originally published this article November 14, 2017 on LinkedIn.)
Top 50 leaders lists does not include a Black person
I was scanning my LinkedIn news feed, as I normally do throughout the day, and I saw an article that caught my attention, "The Top 50 Social Media Influencers You Should Follow In Twitter - 2017." The article was from last February, but as often is the case on social media, content gets recycled. I had missed the original publishing so I was glad one of my connections re-posted it.
I'm a self-proclaimed news junkie, social media is a great source to find quality content. Of course, one has to be connected to the right people to have access to good information. I saw this particular article as a way to find more credible people to connect with on Twitter. I recently started my own communications business. A great deal of my services offerings are social media based. I was excited to learn who the sector leaders are because I knew connecting to them will help me serve my clients better.
In the process of reading the article, I took time to start following each of the 50 social media influencers. Yes, I systematically went to each of their Twitter accounts. It took time to go through each of them, but good investments, even of one's time, require diligence. Having a few of the leaders follow me back was an extra bonus! It was interesting seeing their recent twitter posts, their legions of followers and engagement level. They ranged from those who had expertise with Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook and a mixture of multiple platforms. Some specialize in business-to-business (B2B), some in business-to-consumers (B2C) marketing. None seemed to have a journalism focus as I do with my real-time soundbite tweets from news shows. But I'm still confident these new connections will be of value for my business as I provide social media assessments and one-on-one coaching for my clients.
As I clicked on each of the influencers profiles, I began to see a pattern that didn't settle well with me. There were males and females, and non-White people. To my disappointment, out of the 50, there was not one Black person. This was true for the 2016 list as well. It reminded me of the #OscarsSoWhite storm on social media as a protest to the under-representation of people of color in the annual Academy Award nominations, especially Blacks.
The social media influencers list had some diversity, it just specifically left out Blacks. I'm not sure who thie "The Top 50 Social Media Influencers You Should Follow In Twitter - 2017" was developed, but it is hard to for me to believe there are no Black social media leaders. Is this really the case or is the list yet another ranking that blatantly and intentionally dismisses the achievements of Blacks? I especially wondered this considering the findings in Nielson's 2016 report, "Young, Connected and Black: African-American Millennials are driving social change and leading digital advancements."
The report states "African-Americans millennials are tech trailblazers" and early adapters to social media. With this in mind, wouldn't this also mean there has to be some top social media influencers to follow on twitter?
As an African American it would be great to see someone from my culture on the list to glean inspiration from as I grow my business. Hopefully, the 2018 list will have better diversity.