Erica Anderson, 30
As Twitter's senior product marketing manager, Erica Anderson makes sure the world gets its news 140 characters at a time. After graduating from Indiana University in 2006, Anderson got her start as a journalist at MTV News and CBS News right at a time when news organizations were scrambling to figure out this whole social media thing. Her intuition told her that knowing social media as a young reporter would set her apart from her peers.
"I kind of became a student of social media, if you will," she says. "I began educating journalists that I met along the way on social media, and they educated me with their seasoned professionalism [about] how news works, so through making sense of the both of them, I've been able to add value to Twitter through that."
In her three years at Twitter, Anderson has become the connector between news organizations, celebrities, and public figures and one of the most significant communications platforms around. But she has not only helped some of the biggest names in the news business alert the world as to what's going on, she's also encouraging Twitter employees to feel comfortable with being out as the cofounder of TwitterOPEN, the company's LGBT affinity group, as well as women through the organization Lesbians Who Tech.
"I think Twitter is an incredible platform for breaking down barriers, and creating the opportunity for dialogue and discussion to happen out in the open," Anderson says. "I think it also provides us with a place to advocate, and to ask and hold leaders accountable in a public setting. So I do think that Twitter is one of those many platforms that has helped to elevate conversations around gay rights, transgender issues, and such, so it's definitely played a big role in democratizing content, and the voices that are big in the conversation."