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More On Those Smartest Women On Twitter

Yesterday we posted BRANDfog's list of 25 of the smartest women on Twitter. We asked readers to respond with other women we should all follow—and, well, let's just say the response was heard loud and clear. Here's what you can learn from an engaged audience.

Earlier this week, our contributor Ann Charles, founder and CEO of BRANDfog, wrote about 25 of the smartest women on Twitter, part of her company's ongoing look at ways to maximize Twitter's potential.

There are others in that group, of course, as many readers (seriously, lots) pointed out on Twitter and in real life. There was some appropriate criticism about who was missing ("Spoiler alert: not one Black woman," one Twitter user sharply, correctly noted). And we followed closely as the whole thing morphed into hashtags, including #SmartBlackWomenOfTwitter and #SmartLatinaWomenOfTwitter. You'll find a treasure trove of big thinkers and innovators to follow there. We consider ourselves lucky to have an engaged audience who calls it like they see it (or don't see it in this case).

We're big believers in the idea that the future of business looks a lot less like Steve Ballmer and a lot more like Kelvin Doe, Yvonne Greenstreet, and Reshma Saujani. That idea is reflected in our annual lists, including Most Innovative Companies and Most Creative People. We squandered the opportunity to do the same with our initial Twitter list.

With that in mind, let's continue the conversation. Keep sending us great ideas (or keep tweeting) and we'll keep talking about the people you follow and who inspire you. Here are just a few of the additional smartest women on Twitter you suggested:

Farai Chideya | @faraichideya

Farai Chideya is a journalist, political analyst, and author of four books including The Color of Our Future and Kiss the Sky.

Heidi N. Moore | @moorehn

Based in New York City, Heidi Moore is the finance and economics editor for the Guardian US. Formerly of the Wall Street Journal, Moore has over a decade of experience in financial reporting and commentary.

Imani Perry | @imaniperry

Imani Perry is a scholar of law, culture and race; write, and cultural critic. She currently serves as a professor at Princeton University's Center for African American Studies.

Soledad O'Brien | @Soledad_OBrien

Soledad O'Brien is CEO of Starfish Media Group and broadcast television anchor and correspondent for CNN, HBO, and more recently, Al Jazeera America. She was recently named a Distinguished Visiting Fellow by Harvard Graduate School of Education (where she was recently commencement speaker) and joined the board of directors of the Foundation for The National Archives in Washington, DC.

Gina Trapani | @ginatrapani

Gian Trapani is an American tech blogger, web developer, and writer. She founded @ThinkUp, @todotxt, and @Lifehacker.

Anne-Marie Slaughter | @SlaughterAM

Anne-Marie Slaughter is an academic, foreign policy analyst, and public commentator. She currently serves as the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and was formerly dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Before that, Slaughter served as director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department from 2009-2011.

Helen Clark | @HelenClarkUNDP

Helen Clark is the former prime minister of New Zealand and administrator of @UNDP.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon | @gaylelemmon

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is the New York Times best-selling author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy program.

Vanessa Bush | @Vanessa_KBush

Vanessa Bush, is editor of Essence magazine (@essencemag) and an award-winning journalist.

Goldie Taylor | @goldietaylor

Goldie Taylor is a frequent contributor to MSNBC, CNN, and HLN; author, and executive consultant.

Anthea Butler | @AntheaButler

Anthea Butler is an associate professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the author of the forthcoming The Gospel According to Sarah: How Sarah Palin's Tea Party Angels Are Galvanizing the Religious Right.

Janet Mock | @janetmock

Janet Mock is a activist, author, and founder of the social media project #GirlsLikeUs which aims to raise the visibility of trans women. Her book Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More will be released in 2014.

Susie Wee | @susiewee

Susie Wee is vice president of Cisco and CTO of Networked Experiences.

Donna Brazile | @donnabrazile

Donna Brazile is a political strategist, author, and contributor to CNN and ABC News.

Danyel Smith | @danamo

Danyel Smith is a novelist, prolific journalist, and John S. Knight Journalism Fellow. She is also the author of two novels, Bliss: A Novel and More Like Wrestling.

Feminista Jones | @FeministaJones

Feminista Jones is a mental health social work administrator, editor at BlogHer, columnist, and multi-faceted feminist and social activist.

Laura Chinchilla | @Laura_Ch

Laura Chinchilla is first female president of Costa Rica, and the sixth women to be elected president of a Latin American country.

Maria Hinojosa | @Maria_Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa is a journalist and founder of The Futuro Media Group, an independent notprofit media organization shedding light on the diversity of the American experience. Previously, she was the first Latina to anchor a report on PBS's Frontline.

Who would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments section below, please!

[Image: Flickr user Rusty Clark]

Add New Comment


  • maddogdelta

    How many of these women know the difference between Heisenberg and Curie. How many can perform x-ray diffraction or pilot a probe around Saturn.

    Nope, none of them. Get elected, run a business at a profit, have good enough looks for TV and you're a frickin genius. Cure cancer and you can get to the back of the bus with all the other gormless poor people, amirite?

  • Tracy E. L. Poured

    "Smartest" here translates to "most visible" "more prolific" and "those we recognize as also being in the media, which will help our own media relationships in the long run". Poor & inaccurate translation. Good luck.

  • Ria Fernandez

    Hi! Im a writer for a website called Fashionbi, and I really really love the idea of this article. For one thing, its really empowering for women! Its great enough hearing about successful women today, but its another thing to be following them and to get to know them on this level, you know? Great piece! More power :)

  • merry

    "Keep sending us great ideas (or keep tweeting) and we'll keep talking about the people you follow and who inspire you. "
    in some ways i do take issue with this statement. it suggests that your staff and contributors lack diversity and are therefore unable to generate these names themselves.

    why is that fast company?

  • Alden

    Susan Rice would have been a fantastic addition to this list. As the U.S. ambassador to the UN, she used Twitter smartly; condensing complex issues into 140 characters without dumbing down the context or relevance. Following her was the reason I (a male) joined Twitter in the first place.

  • WeExistToo

    All white women, no conservatives. No research, lazy editing...This is your JOB. You should at least TRY to put in as much effort as a high school student in a last period English class.

  • DrGoddess

    Hi Fast Company, this situation is interesting because I read Fast Company, include @FastCompany:twitter  in my "Twitter Training for Campaigning" that I do for the annual Netroots Nation Convention and other groups with whom I consult, and I also come over to the Fast Company venue at SxSW every year. I've been quite the brand ambassador for you :-)  I do share in the criticism around the original construction of the article and who's at the decision-making table (as we can't "lean in" if we're not even there, right?) but I also appreciate the swift response and the attempt to make amends. Yes, the other lists you create should feature the women in the same way. It's also important to pay attention to the hashtags and highlight the women that were consistently referenced within them. In the meantime, if there is room for consulting and/or freelance, I would love to know about those opportunities. I am also writing a musical called "Community Meeting," a clear double entendre, for which I would love sponsorship to finish and present. If you feel so inclined to support my forthcoming book, "The Bombastic Brilliance of Black Twitter," I would appreciate that as well ( I need some fairy tech godparents. Today was a good opportunity and I look forward to seeing what will happen next. 

  • Eyes Open

    As to not miss the point, the staff at Fast Company would do well to read: Racism Without Racist" by Bonilla-Silva to contextually your Black women omission.

  • kneelbeforetigers

    Whoo, way to throw this together after getting your asses handed to you... how pathetic. Literally the most top-note list you could have cobbled together. How's about maybe even going to Twitter and checking out some of the #smartBlackwomenofTwitter who were tagged today?

  • Sailume Walo

    This is a sad and pathetic attempt to throw women of color a bone. We see right through your isht and we're not buying it! I know it's hard to see others while cocooned in your white privileged world, but we do exist. In fact, we do more than exist. We thrive!  We create and restore. We build and rebuild. We contribute. We are smart and strong and powerful! And we see ourselves and each other even when you don't. Especially when you don't! So you can take your half-assed list and...#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen.

  • imadime

    having to constantly open people's eyes to this kind of thing, and explain why there's even anything wrong with it is friggin exhausting.
    why isn't it your default to ensure that what you're putting out into the world actually represents the world?  ok, fine you made a mistake, but i can't even wrap my head around how the hell the mistake was made in the first place! are your lives so homogenous that these things literally don't occur to you without social media outrage? seriously????
    but we're supposed to buy the line where, according to some, institutional and systemic racism are equivalent to the boogeyman.
    this just makes me so angry. especially because i liked fast company so much. i just can't.
    also, here's the thing...based on the fact that the list ms. charles compiled is so limited in scope and perspective, having seen it, i would NEVER hire her, nor recommend her firm to anyone i know. in fact, i would probably specifically recommend against it. if that's the social media world according to BRANDfog, i'll pass, because they're evidently IN a i the only one?

  • merry

    i was thinking she did her "brand" a disservice. 

    ann charles did a very poor job. if this is indicative of her work, i'd pass. and, i work in brand/pr/communications.

  • K. Robinson

    Though I'm pleasantly surprised that Fast Company revised their list and saw the error of their ways, I think the initial exclusion of Black women or other minorities, speaks to a bigger problem. The problem of catering to a multi-ethnic, multi-hued, and multi-racial audience... unless public outrage on a social media site 'encourages' you to change your ways. Why wasn't the inclusion of all intellectual women, regardless of race, at the forefront of the list compiler's mind? As another commenter mentioned, I'm more concerned with how diversity will be part of Fast Company's future endeavors and actions. 

  • Chopin jr.

    Address the racism for goodness sakes. Your furthering the problem by not addressing the real issue! Unconscious racism exists!!! especially in the form of denial!

  • Adrienne Graham

    I can't say I'm surprised. First of all, I tend to take lists with a grain of salt They're usually based on favoritism by the author and/or publication. I've been in the diversity game for a long time (20 years) on the recruiting side. I'm all for inclusive diversity. The problem comes when it's not inclusive. 

    It bothers me that this is a conversation that still needs to be had. I recognize it's necessary but wish it wasn't. I don't want it to come to "well they have their lists, let's start our own". I see many people in tech, VC, business in general say things publicly like "we can't find ethnic women. We want ethnic women to be included but they don't show up". Well I have a vast network of all kinds of people, all kinds of races and both genders. I rarely find myself at a loss for diversity. But that's mostly because I choose to surround myself with people of all kinds.

    But there is a conversation that needs to be had and nobody's really coming out and saying it as it is so I will. When are White women going to come to the table and have these conversations with Black, Hispanic, Asian women? There are so many groups and organizations that pride themselves on championing "women's causes" but somehow when you see the conferences, reports, social media updates, brown girls are omitted. Is it by design? Who knows. But it's very noticeable to me. I want to see women who look like me in accelerators, being recognized for bringing something to the table (SMARTS), being awarded VC funding. It upset me to no end that Inc Magazine published their Inc 500 and by their own admission the list was "90%male, 77% Caucasian". In fact the exact words were "The Boy's Club- The profile of an Inc 500 CEO: white, male, married and over 35". The Inc Women's Summit had ZERO women of color in the line up. So indeed this is a conversation that spans far beyond lists.

    By the same token, and I know I'm going to make a lot of people mad at me, brown women, we need to come to the table too! We need to reach out to collaborate, get to know and partner with the Women 2.0's of the world. With the Fast Companies of the world. We have to speak up and be heard. 

    Women collectively have a responsibility to have these tough conversations with one another. In fact I started the conversation on Twitter. We can't hide and dance around on egg shells and pretend like there is no problem. Expand your mind folks! Once we achieve inner peace among women, then we can be taken serious by they guys. Mine is not a popular opinion, but love it or hate it, it's my truth.

  • BB Fortune

     We do need to come to the table, the challenge is we are rarely notified when the "dinner" will be.

  • RG

    I follow Fast Company on Twitter and frequently read your magazine.  

    I, too, thought it peculiar when this particular ethnic group of women were omitted from the initial list. The writer takes extreme care in describing the diversity of the women included in list in terms of industry, etc.  I was taken with the fact that the diversity fell short of considering ethnicity as well.  Although unintentional, the omission speaks to the author's network and compliance of Fast Company. 

    As other commenters stated, I am not surprised by the omission.  What is more surprising in the response.  I commend you on its speediness. However, I am interested in learning how this incident will influence your organization and its employees moving forward.  This response was a band-aid or temporary fix. 

    As a result, I'm curious as to how Fast Company plans to address the lack of consideration for ethnic diversity from a systemic perspective.  Let this be a lesson to us all that our Personal Learning Networks (PLN) reflect more individuals dissimilar to ourselves.