The Financial Times’ FT Luxury 360, its “online luxury business hub” which collates all luxury-related articles from across FT.com, would like you to follow its fashion editor Vanessa Friedman on Twitter, thank you very much, as tweeted on 26 June.
Contrary to what some follow-up tweets suggested (L2 Think Tank: “Finally”; @Edgecliffe Twitter just got more stylish with the arrival of @FTfashion editor Vanessa Friedman), Friedman is not new to Twitter. In early August 2009, in the article ‘A fleeting tweeting’, she made fun of the fact she had just gotten her 30th follower (“pathetically lame when compared to actor Ashton Kutcher’s 2,961,879 ”) despite not tweeting a single time.
The situation hasn’t changed much. Friedman’s only tweet, until 27 June 2013, was in July 2009 (“Thinking about Hilary Clinton’s hair; it’s getting longer - why? Time or tide?”) Since then, she has tweeted three times, a mixture of opinion (#katemoss in #StuartWeitzman ads, #Katemoss in #Versace ads: are there no other models? Or are models like actors: no one new can open?) and fashion news (#VittorioMissoni’s plane found. At least the family will have an answer.) This is information I could get anywhere else and therefore, I don’t feel the need to follow her account.
The whole operation felt a bit forced, as if someone had told Friedman she really needed to tweet because this was where the future of fashion journalism and FT readership numbers lay.
If that were the case, you’d hope that before tweeting her handle to over 8,000 followers, the FT would have asked her to actually start tweeting. Or that it wouldn’t have tweeted a handle only to change it a few minutes later. Friedman can now be found on Twitter at @VVFriedman rather than @VFriedmanFT as initially announced. The original tweet has since been amended.
Although the idea of improving Friedman’s connection with her readers was good, the execution was poor, especially considering how many FT journalists and editors, including Lionel Barber, use the platform well. Not that it should stop her from getting actively involved on the social medium.
In ‘A fleeting tweeting’, Friedman lamented she couldn’t “find one tweet that made [her] want to start a conversation; even the good ones are bullet-points, boiled-down thoughts”. Considering her background at mainstream consumer fashion publications such as In Style and Vogue as well as in more highbrow weeklies such as The Economist and The New Yorker, let’s hope she will tweet these all important conversation starters, as rare in 2013 as they were in 2009.