Do you remember when you first got Twitter? Do you remember that feeling that the whole world was suddenly at your fingertips? That feeling that the playing field was level. You could now not only read the whims and daily musings of your crush, you could peek inside the brains of the actors, musicians, journalists, and other celebrities you admired. And when you started, you had 12 followers, tweeted from twitter.com with a default egg shaped avatar and a cloud themed background. But you felt that if you were witty enough, smart enough, or persistent enough you would become just like one of those people you retweeted ten times a day.
Well, you were fed a lie. Twitter is rigged. Social media is rigged. By creating web presences and personal brands on large, multi-national social networks like Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+ we are simply buying into the myth that if we are relevant enough, we will be stars. The playing field, however, is not flat. We are fed stories of “normal” people who leveraged their social skills to gain fame and notoriety online such as @kellyoxford and @thesulk. But these stories are few and far between, and may have been inside jobs with the Social Media Elite. Really, we are just providing more followers for the Social Media 1 Percent: We tweet at Twitter stars with millions of followers, hoping that they will retweet or respond, spreading our name to their vast networks. We are fighting over the scraps of their tables, and perpetuating a system of inequality and shame.
In this unjust, unfair system, the Social Media 1 Percent are gaining followers exponentially, while the rest of us are lucky to ever break 500. You see, it works like this. When a user visits the profile of an online star like Alec Baldwin and sees that this persona already has hundreds of thousands of followers, they are more likely to follow them. Think a snowball effect. Meanwhile, that same user visits your profile, sees that you have 37 followers and no website, and navigates to a new page without hitting the follow button. A few stars are getting incredibly famous while the rest of us are desperately wasting our time and energy on social media sites. We are the Social Media 99%, and we are sick and tired of it. We will not stand for being second rate web presences.
We must not put up with this any longer. We will not stand for the Social Media 1% taking followers, reblogs, “likes,” and Klout away from the rest of us. We will not stand for spending nearly 3/4 of our waking hours on pointless social media sites just to have a pitiful Klout score of 27.
Our list of demands is simple. We are demanding:
-A redistribution of followers. If you have more than 100,000 followers you must give away 50% of new followers to those less famous than yourself. There will be follower brackets consisting of users with less than 100, 1,000 or fewer, 10,000 or fewer, 50,000 or fewer, 500,000 or fewer, and over 500,000. Redistribution will be focused mainly on those in the top bracket.
-Mandatory Responses: Currently, the Social Media 1 Percent is playing a little game. They tweet something out and get 65 responses, but only respond to other people with strong personal brands and thousands of followers. We demand that the 1 Percent begin answering all of their mentions, so that their network will be more engaged with the 99 Percent. No more inside jobs.
-Mandatory Retweets: Every tweet, no matter how pointless, deserves retweets. Often a lesser known web presence will be flooding the internet with content all day long, but receive no retweets or mentions. This is keeping the little guy down, and preventing an effective distribution of content. Every tweet will get at least 10 total retweets by members of all follower brackets.
-Free access to mobile platforms: Those who do not have internet connected phones are at a severe disadvantage. Even worse, those who tweet “via Twitter for Android” or “via UberSocial for BlackBerry” face humiliation and unequal opportunity. The Social Media 1 Percent is constantly connected, tweeting “via Twitter for iPhone” or “via TweetDeck.” We demand that all members of social media sites have free access to credible materials that allow them to advance. A user tweeting from an Android or BlackBerry faces discrimination, and is handicapped from the start. The playing field must be leveled.
We ask that you stand in solidarity with our movement to #OccupySocialMedia. It’s time to bring the Kim Kardashians and Nick Kristofs of the world to justice, and drag them out of their ivory towers. It’s time that everyone has access to the dream of social media. We know they will try to block our hashtag; however, you cannot defeat an idea. We will grow, and we will become influencers. online. We are the Social Media 99 Percent.